We came up a run short as the Dodgers and Rockies bullpens put the game on lock down after seven runs dented the plate in the first three inning to keep the total just shy of the nine runs I was looking for. We will try to get back on track and notch a Saturday winner today with a massive slate of action to choose from.
Meanwhile, the increasing debate over capping extra innings games got another entry on the “pro” side last night as the Reds and Giants went seventeen innings before Buster Posey hit a walkoff solo shot in the bottom of the 17th inning. It is the third marathon game in the last week in MLB and give the increased focus on player safety and working conditions in all sports, don’t expect the debate to die down anytime soon. Alas, the two squads and their exhausted bullpens get no rest as they have an inconvenient DAY game this afternoon in San Fran… play ball!
Today’s slate is highlighted by a ton of day games, including Jeremy Helickson and Gio Gonzalez taking some excellent early season statlines to the mound in Washington and a 4:05pm FOX showdown in St. Louis between a pair of struggling former Cy Young winners in Jake Arrieta and Adam Wainwright.
The evening has just two games, and just one in the N.L. but it does feature Max Scherzer in the second game of the Phills/Nats doubleheader.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Chicago Cubs -103 at St. Louis Cardinals +100 (Total: 8)
Jon Lester (1-1, 3.27 ERA) vs. Carlos Martinez (2-3, 3.86 ERA)
On paper, this sounds like one of the most magical days anyone could ask for at the ballpark. The Cards and the Cubs with Lester vs. Carlos Martinez on the mound??!? I’ll scalp tickets for three-digits!
And yes, it is still Cubs vs, Cardinals, a rivalry steeped in tradition and an important and star-studded afternoon, but the starting pitching matchup makes this game even more interesting and potentially entertaining today. It could also makes runs at a real premium today.
Lester is the only starter in the National League to throw at least 100 pitches in every single start, so there is no reason to expect the Cards to chase him early or for Chicago to need a taxing effort from their bullpen. Meanwhile, Martinez failed to live up to “ace” expectations early, failing to record a win in his first five starts. However, he has won his last two and has some other numbers that render his record and ERA deceptively poor. Yes, his ERA is up close to four, but he ranks fourth in the NL in strikeouts per nine innings at 10.71 and he is holding batters to an insane .176 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Both of these offenses can mash, but I’ll take excellent pitching over a solid lineup anytime. And we have two of the NL’s better hurlers squaring off this afternoon. These two combined for a 3-2 Opening Day thriller, and I think we are in store for a similar 3-2-type ball game this afternoon in Busch.
Today’s MLB Pick: RUN TOTAL UNDER 8