Our featured pick today is a 1:10pm matinee in Cincinnati as the Reds host the surging Milwaukee Brewers who are over .500 for the first time since 2014.
We might have gotten a little greedy last night. I saw huge double-your-money and more lines attached to Zach Greinke and decided to take a swing. Unfortunately, so did most of the Los Angeles Dodgers hitters. The Dodgers battered their former teammate for five runs and ten hits in just five innings, providing more than enough cushion for Clayton Kershaw to notch the easy win. It has still be a monster week with five straight winners and three straight plus-money underdogs, so all in a good MLB week, and one we will look to continue into the weekend.
One of the best things (and worst things) about the Major League Baseball season is that even a few weeks of action is really too small a sample size to get too worked up about. I know I wrote the column a few days ago about the Diamondbacks and Reds being the best teams in baseball. Will anyone bat an eye if either or both end up with 90 losses? Likewise, the Giants had a disastrous start and the Cardinals and Pirates look pretty pedestrian. Two weeks is enough to say the baseball season is well under way, but keep in mind, we have experienced about 7% of the season, which is roughly the equivalent of a single NFL game…
Today’s MLB Pick:
Milwaukee Brewers +105 at Cincinnati Reds -108 (Total: 8.5)
Zack Davies (0-2, 10.61 ERA) vs. Brandon Finnegan (1-0, 1.00 ERA)
Speaking of the Reds, they certainly aren’t as good as the looked in the first three series; best run differential in baseball, best ERA in the National League, etc. But they also likely aren’t as bad as the looked the last two nights, dropping a pair at home to the Brew Crew by a combined score of 15-4. As the expression goes, momentum is only as strong as the next day’s starting pitcher, and the Reds have their best one on the bump tonight.
Brandon Finnegan skyrocketed to fame with his ice-cold performance in the AL Wildcard Game for Kansas City just a few months after pitching for TCU in the College World Series. He has since been converted back into a starter and in his second full season in the role, looks poised to take the next step forward. He has allowed just one run so far in his two appearances, though his control was a little shaky in his second short outing, he has kept guys from crossing the plate, which is his main job. The Reds need him to step in and be their ace today to avoid losing all the momentum from the first two weeks.
The Brewers will counter with Zack Davies, another young hurler, but one off to a much different start. Davies is 0-2 with a 10.61 ERA so far this season with batters enjoying a .386 average. Obviously, SMALL sample size and he will come back down, but last year he was a mid-four’s ERA guy, so perhaps his struggles aren’t completely over just yet. I like Cincinnati to get a few runs off him today and give Finnegan a small cushion to work with. Davies is just 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA in his career against the Reds. Pitching in Great American “Small Park” isn’t easy for young visitors, and I think the Reds snap out of their brief funk this afternoon.
Today’s Pick: CINCINNATI REDS TO WIN -108