Remember when the smaller market teams used to serve as a virtual de facto farm system for the Yankees? Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and all the others just built up the talent until it got too expensive, then the Yankees and the apropriatly named Brian Cashman swooped in with the checkbook.
Times they are a changin’. Every big name the Yankees were rumored to be bidding for has gone elsewhere, including the latest blow – David Price heading to division-rival Toronto. The Blue Jays have the best lineup in the division, and the acquisition of an ace could make the Yankees’ seven game lead start to look a lot slimmer down the stretch. So far Cueto, Hamels, Price and a half dozen second-tier pitchers have all ended up somewhere far from the Bronx, which means CC Sabathia will continue to bring his gas can to the mound every five days… It will be interesting to see if the Yankees are willing to go out and pay for a Mike Leake or similar second/third tier starter just to make a move or if they’ll stand pat.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Chicago Cubs -135 at Milwaukee Brewers +125 (Total: 7)
Jake Arrieta (11-6, 2.61 ERA) vs. Jimmy Nelson (8-9, 3.97 ERA)
The Cubs and Brewers are teams on different trajectories this season, but that hasn’t stopped the Brewers from taking four of the last five games against the rivals to the South. Tonight the Cubs look to turn things around with a red-hot starting pitching in Jake Arrieta. Arrieta is 2-1 with a 1.66 ERA in his last three starts. More impressively, he has logged 22.2 innings with 27 strikeouts and just six walks. He is in the midst of arguably the best stretch of his career, and he will look to continue it tonight against a Milwaukee team that seemingly has everyone on the trading block.
Milwaukee will counter with Jimmy Nelson, who despite some pretty mediocre season numbers, has actually been very good lately. He is 2-1 with a 1.33 ERA in his last three starts and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two outings. Prior to that however, he was 1-4 with a 6.06 ERA in six starts. The Brewers will hope he can keep the good times rolling tonight.
The Cubs are strikeout prone, so a power pitcher on his game gives them trouble. But Nelson isn’t that type of pitcher. I think his hot streak ends in defeat tonight. I’m going to keep it conservative and take the Cubs at +135 officially. I like Arrieta in the matchup, and with all the crazy “who is staying, who is going” in Milwaukee, the lineup could be a little thin tonight. I like the Cubs on the runline at +130 for a little extra plus-money, but my official pick is just the win.