Yesterday was a nice, relaxing easy cover, as the Indians blanked the Rangers, winning 1-0 in one of a record-setting FOUR 1-0 games yesterday in Major League Baseball. There were a total of SEVEN shutouts in all yesterday, a really staggering number of either pitching dominance or offensive ineptitude, depending on your personal slant.
Today’s slated starting pitchers feature only two guys who made the All Star Game, and only one other starter with double digit wins, so perhaps the Sunday matinees will bring about a little more offensive excitement.
For today’s free pick, let’s hone in on ESPN’s Sunday Night Game of the Week.
St. Louis Cardinals -111 at Atlanta Braves +102 (Total: 7.5)
Shelby Miller (10-6, 2.77 ERA) vs. Kris Medlen (6-10, 3.78 ERA)
The Cardinals find themselves in a rare position tonight, needing a win to avoid a series sweep. They’ve won or split their last five series and enter tonight’s game with the best record in baseball at 62-39. Meanwhile, the Braves seem to have weathered their injury storm and come out just fine. They’ve actually expanded the largest division lead in the majors to a comfortable 8.5 games, and now they have Justin Upton and Jason Heyward back in the fold.
Sure, the Braves could stand to add a front-line starter before the trade deadline to make up for the devastating loss of Tim Hudson, but this series is a good reminder than in the game of baseball and in a small sample size, absolutely anything can happen. The Cardinals have scored just one run so far this weekend, a quick reminder that the National League pennant is still far from a foregone conclusion…
Tonight will be tough for the Braves though, unless they get a better effort from Kris Medlen. He has been dreadful in his last three outings, lasting just 14.2 innings and allowing an ERA of 8.59. His WHIP is just a sliver under 2.00. Facing an angry Cardinals lineup isn’t the easiest way to break out of a pitching slump.
Shelby Miller on the other hand, has been fantastic. He is 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA and his sub-three ERA and 1.09 WHIP on the season is top of the rotation caliber. I like him to pitch well tonight and to get some long-awaited run support tonight. It’s hard to see the Cards offense being held to one or less run for a third straight game. It hasn’t happened yet this season in over 100 games, and I am not sure Kris Medlen is in the condition to make it happen.
Free Pick: St. Louis Cardinals to WIN -111