We ran the record to a perfect post season 4-0 ATS with another slight plus money winner yesterday. Rich Hill was a little off (as projected) and allowed some rare homeruns, the opposite of his most powerful trait, and gave up too many runs to match the excellent Tanner Roarke. The Nationals evened up the series at a game a piece, and it appears we will finally get at least one really good, compellingly competitive series.
Not that all 2-0 series mean they are “not good.” I’ve got no complaints with the drama from Chicago and San Francisco, especially that Game One masterpiece, and the drama ramps up exponentially tonight as the Giants hand the ball to Madison Bumgarner with the series on the line…
I can’t wait.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Chicago Cubs +115 at San Francisco Giants -125 (Total: 6)
Jake Arrieta vs. Madison Bumgarner
The Legend of Madison Bumgarner authored yet another blistering chapter in last week’s wildcard game as he delivered yet another shutout, running his streak to 23 straight scoreless innings in postseason win-or-go-home games; something completely unprecedented in the history of the game. Say what you will about the additional postseason rounds, blah blah, but this guy is the best money postseason pitcher who has lived. It’s really that simple.
So your choice is an easy one tonight. Do you try to get cute and bet against the best pitcher in modern postseason history or do you ignore some pretty powerful factors in the other direction and bet against Jake Arrieta and the now 105 win Cubs? There are some reasonable arguments for both, and it is really isn’t a simple answer.
First, the counter-case for the Cubs. Yes, they must dethrone Madison Bumgarner. But over the course of the last two years, Arrieta has been the slightly better pitcher and in 2016 it’s been a pretty even matchup. Arrieta is 4-2 with a 1.82 ERA in six lifetime starts against the Giants and was 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA this year. He also has the second-best statistical offense in the National League behind him, the best statistical defense, and a team that has racked up 105 wins this season and is facing a team with major offensive woes that has only tallied two runs all series.
SO… bet against Bumgarner?
Well, YOU can. Not me. Not this time. For ALL the wonderful reasons that the Cubs are a good statistical value at +115, you can call me a sucker for ignoring the data in favor of emotion, but I buy this Bumgarner magic. He just seems to be able to WILL zeros to the scoreboard inning after intense, pressure-packed inning. His team seems to puff up with confidence just KNOWING MadBum had things under control.
Arrieta posted a 4.66 ERA in September and has an ERA over 4 since the All Star Break. His shine has faded a bit, and while he still has the awesome potential to completely dominate tonight, especially against a scuffling offense, he just isn’t in the same place right now as Bumgarner.
Give me one more chapter of the amazing fable of MadBum.