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Cardinals vs. Reds Pick MLB – Sept 2nd

We notched a monster winner last night with the heavy underdog Marlins (+180) snapping their five game slide and knocking off the Mets and Jacob deGrom.  In fact, the winner was actually a pretty easy one as the Marlins touched up deGrom for three runs early, staking Urena to a 3-0 lead and even with some bullpen foibles, they coasted in with a 6-4 win.  The win was HUGE for the Marlins and their flagging playoff chances, but also a blow for the Mets who continue to chase the Cardinals and Giants while holding off the Marlins and Pirates.

Baseball is back to business today with everyone in action and most teams kicking off fresh weekend series.  The highlights of the Labor Day weekend schedule are the Giants at Wrigley and the Mets heading to the nation’s capital to see if the can rekindle the head-to-head magic that pushed them past the Nats last Fall and into the postseason.

Let’s see if we can build on last night’s big money momentum and start a bigger holiday weekend.

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Today’s Free Pick:

St. Louis Cardinals -118 at Cincinnati Reds +108 (Total: 8.5)

Alex Reyes (1-0, 0.64 ERA) ** 2nd career start vs. Anthony DiSclafani (8-2, 2.96 ERA)

I’ve made some good coin this year rolling with Anthony DiSclafani and the underrated second-half of the season Reds.  We cashed in on his last outing and the temptation to take him at slight plus money at home tonight is definitely strong.   But there is one thing that concerns me…

Alex Reyes.

Reyes’s first career start was a good one, pitching five innings with just a run allowed.  His ERA is macroscopic because in his other five appearances, all in relief, no one has scored.  He likely will have a pretty short leash tonight in his spot-start to give Mike Leake a little extra rest; both because the Cards are in a fierce playoff battle AND because of Reyes’s youth (he turned 22 this week) and future.  But it isn’t like the Cardinals bullpen is a weakness. In fact, the Cards pen ranks fourth in the NL in ERA and third in batting average against with a tidy .224.  So even if the hook is quick, if he can give them five or six with a run or two allowed, the Cards are in a position to win.

DiSclafani has been fantastic since returning from a nearly year-long absence.  He threw a complete game four-hitter in his last outing and improved his mark to 8-2 with a 2.96 ERA on the season, despite pitching on a losing team and in a hitter-friendly ballpark.  I like him to be sharp tonight as well.  He has delivered 11 quality starts in 15 attempts this season, so the odds favor a good performance.

The two factors combined make this a prime candidate to stay under the relatively-inflated 8.5 run total.  Joey Votto is on fire, missing becoming the first player in seven years to put together back-to-back .400 hitting months by a scant six points batting .394 in August.  But even if he gets loose and does some damage, a 5-3 or 4-3 game keeps us UNDER the mark.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL UNDER 8.5