We notched another easy winner and if you personally got a little more ambitious and took the Cubs on the runline you wisely had a little more bravado than I did. Either way, it was an easy winner with Kyle Hendricks going from “I think you might really kinda have to vote for him for the Cy Young Award even though he isn’t dominating in some of the other more traditional statistics and is still thought of as the third starter on his own team” to the much more succinct “Cy Young Front Runner.” He took a no-hitter into the ninth inning, and unlike some of the recent no-hit bids, did it with such stunning pitch efficiency that there were no doubts about him coming back out to the mound to finish the job.
Of course, the dream ended with a lead-off solo shot to start the ninth, but a complete game one hitter certainly does little to damage the profile, and lowers the Cubs magic number to three.
Speaking of three, all three of the wildcard contenders lost yesterday so no movement in the ultra-tight race for the postseason. The Mets were pummeled 8-1 by the Nats who are looking to put a punctuation mark on the NL East crown and the Giants offensive woes returned in an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at home to San Diego. All three will be in action again tonight to resume in intense three-way battle.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Milwaukee Brewers +120 at Cincinnati Reds -130 (Total: 8)
Matt Garza (5-6, 4.36 ERA) vs. Dan Strailly (11-8, 3.88 ERA)
There is a ton of really important and interesting games on the schedule today, and in all fairness, this is not one of them. But then again, my job isn’t to roll the dice on the fun, interesting televised game of the day, it is to find the highest probability with the best value to cash a winning wager. It’s been working well lately with a nice 8-3-1 ATS run with a few big ‘dogs in the mix and seldom reliance on heavy favorites (last night’s -145 was easily the safest landing spot in the streak). So with that in mind, I am revisiting an old favorite for the stretch run of 2016, Dan Strailly.
Strailly’s overall numbers are pedestrian but his trend line is fantastic. In his last ten outings he has allowed two or less runs eight times. He had a disaster three outings ago against the Angels, other than that, pretty good stuff. There is some slight concern after a relatively short 5.2 inning/3 ER outing last time on the mound, but the broader picture is a good one.
In his career against Milwaukee, Strailly is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA. The Reds might be without Billy Hamilton tonight, which limits some of the outfield defense cushion, but Votto will be in the lineup and he hits Milwaukee better in his career than any other team – and also hits Garza well.
Speaking of Garza, he has been much better lately. He has only allowed two runs in his last 18.1 innings, stretched over three starts. He looks good lately, but Cincinnati has never been a friendly environment for him. He owns a 4-4 record with a 5.03 ERA in 13 career starts and is 2-2 with a 4.17 ERA in seven career starts at GABP.
I like the Reds tonight behind a good outing from Strailly and some runs off of Garza. He has had ten starts this season allowing three or fewer hits, behind only Arrieta’s 11. Look for a nice outing tonight and a Reds home win.