I felt pretty good about our pick last night and even better about the generous line. Then, of course, Dan Strailly allows more runs in the first inning than he has allowed in any entire start over the last two months. Perhaps it was an off night or maybe it was just too much Trout and Pujols, either way, it was over before it got going, so at least we could get some early sleep.
Let’s see if we can get it back on track tonight with a lot of interesting games to choose from. The Mets and Marlins are dead bolted in the standings and have a huge game tonight, the Pirates are tied with them both in the win column and will try to bounce back from last night’s 8-7 13-inning crusher last night in Wrigley, and Johnny Cueto and Zack Greinke hook up in a duel of pitchers trying to re-live up to their big names in San Francisco.
Today’s Free Pick:
Arizona Diamondbacks +150 at San Francisco Giants -160 (Total: 6.5)
Zack Greinke (11-4, 4.29 ERA) vs. Johnny Cueto (14-4, 2.86 ERA)
These two starting pitchers are a combined 25-8 on the season, but this is an instance where the records fail to tell the whole story. Cueto has somewhat famously only won a single decision since starting the All Star Game nearly two months ago. Meanwhile, Greinke has complied a decent record, but his ERA in the mid-fours is certainly not what the D-Backs had in mind when they broke the bank to acquire the Cy Young runner up (and winner in any non-Jake Arrieta turning into Sandy Koufax year). Vegas seems to think BOTH will be solid tonight, as the line is a teeny 6.5 total. Is it too optimistic for both pitchers?
Greinke has a 7.84 ERA in his four starts in August since returning from the DL. It is a little inflated with a disastrous outing three starts ago when he allowed nine runs in 1.2 innings. However, the other three starts were just OK, allowing nine runs in 19 innings with a 19:6 K to BB ratio. He isn’t dominating any more, and I think the Giants will be able to get some runs at home tonight.
Meanwhile, some of Cueto’s struggles have been poor luck. He pitched well enough to win in a 1-0 loss in the Matt Moore almost-no hitter. But overall in August he has an ERA of 3.90, largely because of homeruns allowed. He has allowed six homeruns which obscures an otherwise solid 1.14 WHIP and excellent 27:4 K/BB. The Backs have a little pop in the lineup with Goldschmidt, Yasmany Thomas and Jake Lamb all over 20 and AJ Pollock finally healthy. In fact, despite the team struggles, Arizona is fifth in the NL in runs scored. The problem is their pitching and their staggeringly bad bullpen.
The point is, there are some runs to be scored tonight and the 6.5 TOTAL begs us to take the OVER, so I shall oblige. We may have to sweat out some late bullpen runs, but I think this game will eventually clear the low hurdle and earn us a payday.