Last night’s loss was a bit of a tough pill to swallow. We backed the Milwaukee Brewers, the best team in the National League, against the Miami Marlins, the worst team in the National League. The Brewers had the lead all game long before giving up a couple runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Brewers immediately responded and scored in the top of the eighth inning to send the game into extra innings. The Brewers had the bases loaded in the top of the tenth inning and just one out, when Brad Miller hit into an inning-ending double play.
In typical baseball fashion after blowing a great opportunity, the Marlins then scored in the bottom of the tenth in walk-off fashion on a Bryan Holaday RBI single. All told, the Brewers left six runners on base in the eighth, ninth, and tenth innings and we came up short. It was a little frustrating to lose with so many opportunities to win the game late, but what can you do, the variance is going to catch up with you once in a while. For today’s pick, I am going to break down the game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants.
The Chicago Cubs are in San Francisco today for game two of a three-game series with the Giants. The Giants took game one last night, 2-1 in thrilling fashion. Pablo Sandoval drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning, and the Giants were able to steal the game in what was a pitcher’s duel all evening long. Starter Kyle Hendricks was the unlucky loser in this one for the Cubs as he pitched eight and a third innings and gave up just one unearned run. But it was not enough for him to take home the win and he left with a no-decision.
Starting tonight for the Cubs is Jose Quintana (7-6 4.22 ERA), and for the Giants, it is Johnny Cueto (3-1 1.95 ERA). The Giants are small -109 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM PST from AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Johnny Cueto was off to what was the best start of his long MLB career this season when he went down with a nasty injury. Through April, in five starts, Cueto was 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA. The Giants were 4-1 in games where he started. He finally got healthy and made his first start in over two months last week, and it wasn’t overly pretty.
Cueto got hammered for four runs in the first inning. He did settle down quite a bit after that and only gave up one run in the next four innings, but it was enough damage that his team got blown out. It was good to see Cueto settle back in after a rough start and he is expected to be back up to his full workload tonight after being limited to just 76 pitches in his first start back. If the Giants are going to find a way to make the playoffs this year, they will need Cueto at his best the rest of the way out.
Jose Quintana has been mostly an innings eater in his short sting with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs brought him in to be a top of the rotation type of guy at the trade deadline last year, but that just hasn’t been the case. He has, by no means, been bad, but just ok for the Cubs. He has made one start against the Giants this year, and he got roughed up for four runs in just four and a third innings, and his team lost the game.
Tonight will be a very big test for Johnny Cueto. The Giants badly need him to get back on his game, and I think he finds a way to get the job done tonight. I have been riding this Giants team at home all season long. While they are not at all good on the road, the Giants are one of the best home teams in the National League as they are thirteen games over .500 at home. And the Cubs, while being a great home team as well, struggle on the road as they are just one game above the Mendoza Line at 23-22 away from Wrigley Field.
I have said it time, and again, the books and the public just don’t give home teams enough credit for just being at home. Teams are almost always going to play better baseball at home, and they are going to find ways to win games that maybe they shouldn’t. We saw that with yesterday’s pick where the Marlins managed to beat the Brewers when they probably shouldn’t have.
I think Cueto will be better than he was in his last start, but likely not as good as he was to start out the season, and the Giants find a way to win tonight. Quintana will give up his standard couple of runs, and as long as Cueto is solid, the Giants should be in good shape to take the series win tonight. Give me the San Francisco Giants tonight at home as small favorites at -109.