We notched a fifth straight winner last night with the Braves and Marlins easily eclipsing the seven run threshold despite a pretty tasty starting pitching matchup. Neither Julio Tehran or Jose Fernandez were able to completely shut down their opponent in the 6-4 Marlins victory. The win pushed us to 10-3 ATS in the month of September and looking for more as we power through to the postseason.
Meanwhile, the same cannot be said for the NL Wildcard contenders. All three lost AGAIN yesterday and scored a combined ONE RUN. The Cards and Mets were blanked by Jon Lester and Tanner Roarke respectively, and the Giants lost their sixth straight game to the San Diego Padres (seriously??), this time with yet another uninspired offensive effort, 3-1. Fortunately for the three teams, two of them will be in the postseason as Pittsburgh and Miami are all but left for dead, but neither is looking like a respectable matchup for the Cubbies at this point…
Let’s keep the mojo rolling and go for a half dozen in a row today.
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Today’s Free Pick:
St. Louis Cardinals +130 at San Francisco Giants -140 (Total: 7.5)
Adam Wainwright (11-8, 4.45 ERA) vs. Johnny Cueto (15-5, 2.90 ERA)
To say this series is HUGE might be selling it a bit short. The four game set that commences tonight in the Bay will likely decide which team is left standing at the end of season if one can win the series (especially in a sweep scenario). And it starts off in pretty entertaining fashion with a pair of long-time aces and rivals facing off. Cueto and Wainwright have seen each other plenty over the years, albeit with Cueto in a Reds uniform, and the results are often spectacular.
However, banking on getting THAT Adam Wainwright has been a difficult errand this season. Just when you get back on board, like perhaps after his seven-inning, 1 ER, 3 H statline three starts ago in Milwaukee, he follows it up by lasting five innings and getting battered around the yard. So, you once again give up on the Waino resurgence, and he completely shuts down the Brewers for just one run over eight innings, his longest outing of the year, last time out.
It’s a pretty mixed bag with Wainwright, but keep in mind he does only have THREE quality starts in his last ten outings, so the edge is definitely San Fran’s in the starting pitching.
Assuming they hit even a little bit. Just when it looked like their bats were awakening, they score one run over the last two games and get swept by the Padres. They might not need a TON of runs tonight, but the Giants, who are just 20-35 since the Break, need to give Johnny two or three.
I think they will. And I think he will hold up his end of the bargain. Sure, Cueto has only two wins since starting the All Star Game two months ago, but it hasn’t really been all his fault. He has seven quality starts in his last ten, five in his last six, and has allowed two or less runs in four of his last five starts.
Both of these teams have been historically good at flipping the switch when the weather cools, and both are in desperate need of that switch to be flipped starting TODAY. There are some reasons to be willing to roll the dice and grab the extra juice with the Cardinals on the road. They are one of the best road teams in baseball and the Giants have been miserable over the last two months. But at the end of the day, I’ll take starting pitchers above all else, and Cueto gives the Giants a pretty big probable advantage.