We got off to a good start in the NBA Finals last night, with a tense and tight fourth quarter keeping us comfortably under the point total for an easy cover. Yes, this is a baseball column – don’t back-click – but with two dead days in the NBA, I wanted to at least acknowledge how fantastic this series is going to be, and tell you if you HAVEN’T seen Tony Parker’s spinning sliding banker with five seconds remaining, don’t rush to find it… you’ll be seeing it on highlight reels and pregame Finals packages for the next twenty years if the Spurs can win this series.
Ok, back to baseball and today’s free picks.
I took yesterday off with the light MLB slate and instead focused my energy on the NBA Finals. However, I will try to build on a nice two-day MLB/NBA win streak with a pair of baseball selections this evening. It should be a good weekend of baseball, highlighted by the Reds v Cardinals renewing one of the burgeoning baseball rivalries, as well as the Indians and Tigers batting for first place in the AL Central. Let’s focus on the first of these two fantastic series openers for today’s picks.
St. Louis Cardinals -112 at Cincinnati Reds +104 (Total: 8)
Adam Wainwright (8-3, 2.33 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (5-2, 2.75 ERA)
The Cardinals have handled the Reds pretty easily so far this season in their two series, but for the first time in 2013, the series shifts to Great American Ballpark, where the Reds are a fantastic 21-9 this season, including their last two losses to Colorado; a blown bullpen save and a weird game where they threw their #5 AAA starter due to a last-minute scratch of ace Johnny Cueto. They lost that game….
The Cardinals seemingly have an edge with Wainwright on the bump, but very quietly Mike Leake has put an All-Star worthy season, especially his las three outings where he is 2-0 with a 0.44 ERA. Funny, four weeks ago, there was some rumbling that his roster spot might not be safe with the performance of Tony Cingrani filling in for the injured Cueto. Safe to say, Leake isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Brandon Phillips is expected to be back in the lineup, and he tends to be the thorn in Cardinal fans sides, similar to Molina for the Reds. It’s been a good rivalry for years, now it has the added zip of being two of the best teams in baseball.
This should be a fun series, and tonight has the makings of a well-pitched game. I’ll take the Reds at home in a low-scoring affair.
Free Picks: Cincinnati Reds to WIN +104 & Run TOTAL UNDER 8