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Cubs vs. Dodgers NLCS Game Three Pick – Oct 18th

All good things must eventually come to an end, and our postseason unbeaten run met its match Sunday night with Clayton Kershaw’s epic masterpiece.  I thought the Dodger bullpen fatigue might be too much to overcome, but Kershaw was so brilliantly pitch-efficient that it didn’t matter.  He held the Cubs to just a few hits before handing the ball directly to Kenley Jansen to secure the 1-0 victory, snapping my perfect postseason mark with a narrow loss.

We still head into tonight with a nice tidy 7-1-1 ATS postseason record, and we will look to add to it with tonight’s pivotal Game Three as the scene shifts to Los Angeles.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Chicago Cubs -113 at Los Angeles Dodgers +103 (Total: 6.5)

Jake Arrieta vs. Rich Hill

If you look at only complete season stats, this is a pretty even pitching matchup – in fact, the edge is actually tilted towards Rich Hill.  If you look at just the second half of the season, the advantage is OVERWHELMINGLY Hill’s.  However, if you just look over the last few weeks, there are some signs that Rich Hill is running out of gas perhaps, and that Jake is beginning to recapture some of his 2015-Early 2016 magic.

Rich Hill had a ridiculous career renaissance this season, turning in a 2.15 ERA at age 36 compared to a lifetime career ERA of 4.10.  After failing to allow a single run over 20 innings in his first three starts as a Dodger, he allowed seven in just 15 innings in his last three starts and has lasted a total of 6.2 innings in his two combined postseason starts.  He seems gassed, and while the Dodgers bullpen finally got the much needed rest it had been aching for thank to Kershaw/Jansen and the off-day, it seems likely the pen will have to be at the ready again tonight.

Meanwhile, Arrieta posted an ERA around four for the second half of the season after his season-plus of unparalleled excellence.  Some regression to the mean was inevitable, but this was far more than he or the Cubs were hoping for.  However, his first postseason start was encouraging.  He allowed two runs over six innings but was sharp and at times overpowering against the Giants.  But overall, he has been touched up severely as often as he has dominated over the last few months.

I like the Cubs tonight, but I like the OVER 6.5 even more.  Both these pitchers have great ability but their trend lines aren’t heading in the right direction.  I see both teams allowing some runs tonight in the first wide-open game in what has been a very low-scoring and tense series (Game One got away late, but was low scoring until the Cubs 8th).

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL OVER 6.5