It was a relatively boring day in sports yesterday. College football was littered with a ton of major powers playing non-BCS conference (or even 1A) schools, and my baseball pick was rained out. It made for a relatively uneventful Saturday, but rest assured things are going to dramatically heat up today. MLB is packed with playoff-vital games, and of course, there is a full NFL slate of action as well.
I’m focusing my pick on the Sunday evening game tonight, Milwaukee vs. St. Louis. While the Reds and Pirates play the rubber game of the series, the Cardinals just keep plugging along. Let the Reds and Buccos slug it out… meanwhile, it’s off to the Central Division Winner’s Circle for the Redbirds.
Today’s Free Pick:
St. Louis Cardinals -150 at Milwaukee Brewers +140 (Total: 8.5)
Joe Kelly vs. Wily Peralta
The Cardinals may only have a two-game lead in the Central division, but it sure feels like this thing is a done deal. Counting tonight’s game against Milwaukee, they have seven games left, all against non-playoff teams, while the Reds and Pirates still play four more times. If the Reds and Pirates split those games, the Cards can go just 3-4 and be assured of first place.
Getting the ball tonight for the Birds is Joe Kelly. He is not one of the “big name” Cardinal starters, but he has been pretty darn good this season, especially lately. He enters tonight having thrown quality starts in five of his last seven games and with an overall ERA of just 2.74. He’d like have even more wins, but he hasn’t been going very deep into ballgames. He has not pitched into the 7th inning in ten consecutive starts, and in nearly half those appearances hasn’t seen the sixth. However, for the innings he has logged, they have been good ones. He has posted a 2.24 ERA in his last three starts, despite throwing only 16 innings.
For the Brewers, Peralta hasn’t had a great year, but has also fared well of late. He has a 2.89 ERA in his last three starts and both he and the team are 2-1. He will be facing the NL’s best offense tonight, but I think he will be able to turn in a respectable start and hold them to three or four runs.
If Peralta can do his job even reasonably well, it feels like a game that can stay under the relatively high total of 8.5. I’m going to bank on both pitchers to do well on a chilly Sunday evening and keep this thing UNDER 8.5.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 8.5