It’s not the most glamorous weekend for major league baseball, with nearly every division leader and playoff front runner being matched with teams lower or near the bottom of the standings, but it is an important one in regards of competitive balance for the duration of summer. For example, for teams like the Dodgers, Brewers, Blue Jays and the Cubs – can they scratch out a series win over St Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore or Cincinnati, respectively, or will a rough Holiday weekend see their deficits swell into double digits before we’ve even reached June?
For long-suffering Cubs fans, this isn’t a huge surprise, and to a somewhat lesser degree, not shocking for Milwaukee. But in Los Angeles and Toronto where both payrolls and expectations were sky-high entering 2013, it’s an important weekend – if for no other reason than to keep an already unsettled fan base engaged…
Let’s dig into a few matchups, and try to build on last night’s nice underdog winner.
Philadelphia Phillies +155 at Washington Nationals -165 (Total: 7)
Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 2.82 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (7-2, 1.62 ERA)
The Nationals have been tough to beat this season when Zimmermann has the ball, and one of the main reason is how deep he has piched into ballgames. Strasburg might have the more electric stuff, but Jordan eats more innings, therefore earns more decisions and wins. Zimmermann has earned the decision in all nine starts so far this season.
Kyle Kendrick has been excellent this year for Philadelphia. Very quietly, the Phills have hung on through some injuries to both pitchers (Halladay) and positing players (Utley, Victarino) and are only one game behind Washington in the standings.
The Nats are a better team, and have an obvious advantage tonight with Zimmermann pitching and Utley going back to the DL, but at -165 facing Kendrick it feels a little steep.
I’m going to roll the dice with another good value underdog pick tonight and take the big odds with Kendrick.
Free Pick: Philadelphia Phillies to WIN +155
St Louis Cardinals -113 at Los Angeles Dodgers +106 (Total: 7.5)
Lance Lynn (6-1, 3.27 ERA) vs. Chris Capuano (1-2, 4.84 ERA)
The Dodgers really needed Capuano to come back strong to help weather the storm of losing Zach Greinke, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Capuano has an ERA hovering near five and has notched only a single win this season. The Dodgers are 1-3 in games he has started.
Tonight, he opposes 6-1 Lance Lynn and the Cardinals, who have the best run differential in all of baseball, and the game line is darn near even money?? That seems like a pretty fantastic value for backing the Redbirds, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. In fact, I’ll double up on St. Louis and also take them on the runline (-1.5) at a nice, juicy +150. St. Louis tends to pile up some runs, especially in wins. I’ll ride their streak of four of their last five wins coming by more than one run to continue tonight.
Free Picks: St. Louis Cardinals to WIN -113, St. Louis -1.5 (+150)