We got back to our winning ways last night with the Rangers 4-3 win over the Orioles. Ubaldo Jimenez took the loss, as projected, but he did pitch better than he has been and at least gave the O’s a chance to win. Regardless, it wasn’t quite enough and we got back in the winner’s column for the fourth time this week. We will try to cap off a nice 5-2 week with several plus-money winners today.
Meanwhile, this thing up in Toronto is getting ridiculous. The Blue Jays steamrolled the Tigers 15-1 yesterday with Edwin Encarnacion hitting three homeruns and collecting nine RBI. The crazy thing about it is that it’s not surprising a hitter like Encarnacion had that big of a day, what is surprising is he is probably only the fourth most feared hitter in a lineup that now boasts a +186 run differential (no one else in the AL is in triple-digits). Can they sustain this in the postseason when they will likely meet a Royals or Astros pitching staff? I’m not sure. But they sure are making this summer fun.
Let’s finish the week off in style with our fifth winner.
Today’s Free Pick:
Chicago Cubs -119 at Los Angeles Dodgers +110 (Total: 7)
Jake Arrieta (16-6, 2.22 ERA) vs. Alex Wood (9-8, 3.70 ERA)
ESPN’s Sunday Night Game is a fantastic matchup and could even be a possible playoff preview of October (though someone would have to upset the Cards based on current likely seeding). Either way, it will be a nice early taste of a big-game spotlight for the Cubbies who will try to salvage the final game of the series and snap their longest losing streak since the Break.
There isn’t any better situation for the Cubs to stem the tide than by having their ace on the mound. Jake Arrietta is seeking a 14th straight quality start, the most by any Cub since Greg Maddux, and has been simply awesome this season for the Cubs. The two Dodger hurlers get most of the attention in the Cy Young race, but Arrieta is a very viable candidate should Greinke stumble down the stretch. He is 5-0 with a 0.54 ERA in five August start and hasn’t given up an earned run in his last two outings.
The Cubs haven’t been great away from The Friendly Confines at 34-29, but that hasn’t deterred Arrieta who enters tonight 10-1 with a 1.94 road ERA. I expect him to be excellent tonight in Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers have had a nice weekend, winning two over the hot Cubs and adding another game to their lead over the Giants, but I think a dynamic pitching performance from Arrieta will be tough to overcome. Wood has been good enough, especially against lefties, holding them to a .116 average in his last seven starts. Expect Maddon to go right-heavy except for trusting Rizzo (who’s hitting .323 against southpaws) to still fare well.
I’ll take the Cubs at a nice reasonable price for the hottest pitcher in baseball.