It is a packed Saturday of MLB action with tons of division rivalries taking center stage. The Tigers will look to continue their recent dominance over the Royals and forge a small lead in the tight AL Central. And the reason it is so tight isn’t just the two teams at the top but also the surprising push of the Minnesota Twins. The Twinkies are 18-14, erasing a dismal 1-6 start, and have a chance to further their surprising contention bid as well as further squelch the lofty Indians aspirations today in Cleveland.
In the National League Central, a pair of playoff teams experiencing opposite starts link up with St. Louis looking to take a second straight over the Pirates, and in the lone interleague matchup the Reds and White Sox will play a rare back-to-back doubleheader in the South Side after yesterday’s wash out.
It’s a great day of action, so let’s dive in.
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Today’s Free Pick:
St. Louis Cardinals +103 at Pittsburgh Pirates -110 (Total: 7.5)
Carlos Martinez (3-0, 3.64 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (2-2, 3.90 ERA)
Bet against the Cardinals at your own peril. The Redbirds have the best record in baseball at 22-7 and have won seven straight against Pittsburgh. One of the reasons for the Cards success this season has been their outstanding pitching. They have the best ERA in baseball and relievers individually are also tops in the league at 2.53 and 1.47 respectively. Dazzling stuff.
Tonight they send yet another in the seemingly endless assembly line of young pitching gems to the mound in Carlos Martinez. He was amazing in April, but took a small step back in his last start, going only 3 2/3 rocky innings. That goosed his ERA up a bunch after the 23-year old went 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA in April.
Meanwhile, the Pirates starting pitching has been excellent as well. Their starters have the lowest ERA in the league at 2.85. Tonight Vance Worley looks to build on last weekend’s season-best outing where he held these same Cardinals to just one run in six innings. It’s never easy to face a team twice in a week, but at least Matt Carpenter will be out of the lineup today.
This seems like a game in which the pitchers could fare well. The Pirate offense has been dreadful, scoring two or less runs in seven of their last eight games. However, they’ve tallied 12 runs in their last two games, so perhaps things are starting to heat up a bit for the Buccos.
But I’m going to put my money on the best team in baseball at a slight positive line and with a young stud on the mound bouncing back to his excellent norm. The Cards dominance over the Bucs continues tonight as their assault on the National League and the best record in franchise history marches on…