Major League Baseball made their suspension decisions swiftly after the Nationals/Giants brawl, heading down four games to Bryce Harper and six to instigator Hunter Strickland. It begs the interesting and obvious question; would Hunter Strickland have been suspended at ALL had Bryce Harper simply ran to first base? The answer is quite likely, NO. Frankly, that seems kind of absurd. Strickland instigated a brawl with a cowardly act of drilling a guy because…wait for it… he homered off of him on a postseason game THREE YEARS AGO.
Could MLB stop this nonsense? Sure. Do they really want to? Silently, quietly, deep down, probably not. This has been one of the bigger stories of the MLB season, overshadowing Mike Trout, this generation’s Willie Mays, going on the Disabled List for the first time in his career.
Alas, let’s get on to the baseball business of the day. We took the loss last night with the Giants falling 6-3 to the Nationals. Let’s see if we can get back on track this evening.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Chicago Cubs -176 at San Diego Padres +168 (Total: 7.5)
Jake Arrieta (5-4, 4.92 ERA) vs. Luis Perdomo (0-2, 5.61 ERA)
This line leaps off the paper due to the low run total and the massive struggles of the respective starting pitching. Granted, both offenses haven’t been spectacular, but I think we could have some balls flying off the bat on a warm San Diego afternoon.
Jake Arrieta has lost three of his last four starts, including allowing four runs in a loss at Los Angeles that was the start of their current five-game skid. He will look to get better results today in Petco, a park he has historically pitched pretty well in. Arrieta has a 5.20 ERA in May with a WHIP of 1.40. Batters are hitting .276 off him this season, 51 points above his career average. It may not be “panic” time yet, but there is legitimate concern. Arrieta was similarly below average in the second half of 2016, which starts to introduce a larger sample size and brings in real opportunities to fade the Cubs hurler from a wagering perspective.
Opposing Arrieta is Luis Perdomo, who has also had some major statistical struggles in 2017. He has yet to earn a win this season, taking two losses after opening the season with a franchise-record six straight no-decisions. Interestingly, despite a lousy ERA, he has delivered five quality starts in eight outings this season – so it has been very hit or miss. “Miss” would describe the Cubs bats on this road trip, scoring just seven runs so far on the road trip.
The Vegas lines on the Cubs are just so wildly inflated, it is worth some flyers fading them in spots like today. Are they the better team? Of course. Should they be nearly one to two favorites with Jake Arrieta on the mound? Not even close.
I’ll take a shot on the inflated money line that the Cubs troubles will continue at the plate in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Today’s MLB Pick: SAN DIEGO PADRES TO WIN +168