We notched a second straight winner with the Nationals easily outslugging the Florida Marlins last night in Miami, and hopefully this is the start of a late season run to put a rough August in the rearview mirror. Elsewhere, the Dodgers struggles continued at the expense of the Diamondbacks good fortune, but they have quite a slump-busting option tonight; Clayton Kershaw on the mound at home against the Colorado Rockies. Vegas obviously feels confident the Dodgers are still a formidable foe, installing them as an overwhelming -310 favorite, despite a relatively slim run total over/under of just 6.5.
There are some big matchups taking place, including the Cubs trying to put some more distance the NL Central in the finale of a four game set in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals looking to stay in the race with a set in home-solid San Diego, and the Rockies trying to stop the bleeding and hold on to their postseason slot in a big series against the scuffling Dodgers.
Let’s see if we can notch a third straight W tonight.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Chicago Cubs -130 at Pittsburgh Pirates +120 (Total: 7.5)
Jon Lester (9-7, 4.46 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.50 ERA)
Both pitchers have great stuff and big reputations. Unfortunately, both also have pretty big ERA’s this season as well. The Cubs dropped the first two games of the series but won a gutty 1-0 pitcher’s duel last night. The game marked a sharp departure from the 19 runs tallied in the first two games (16 by Pittsburgh), and one I think we will likely see resume tonight. Seven and a half is a slim total for two starters who don’t have great post All-Star numbers.
Taillon was good in his last outing, but has a 6.75 ERA since the All Star Break, and it is hard to see the Cubs bats staying silent too much longer. Meanwhile, Lester makes his second start after missing some action to “shoulder fatigue” and scuffled in his last start, allowing four runs in five innings. He has a 3.99 ERA in his career in PNC Park – decent, but certainly not imposing. I see him allowing some runs to a Pittsburgh team that has been scoring at home in this series when not facing Jose Quintana…
Look for both teams to close out the series with some offense, making the 7.5 total pretty vulnerable.
Today’s MLB Pick: RUN TOTAL OVER 7.5 (-115)