You can’t ask for a much better opening day of the NLDS than four of the top pitchers in all of baseball knotted up in a pair of pressure-packed series openers. Clayton Kershaw will be trying to exercise some long standing postseason demons this afternoon against possible NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. And in the “other” game we get another Cy Young potential winner, Jon Lester, shouldering the 100-plus year weight of the Cubs legacy into their most anticipated postseason ever against the Giants and Johnny Cueto.
Seriously, if you like sports, forget baseball, if you like EXCELLENCE, today is seven hours of must-see television.
We wrapped up the season with a pretty awesome final month, hitting nearly 65% of our MLB picks with a handful of underdogs in the mix. We are off to a 1-0 ATS postseason start, so let’s keep the good times rolling…
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Today’s Free Pick:
San Francisco Giants +166 at Chicago Cubs -176 (Total: 7)
Johnny Cueto vs. Jon Lester
The pitching matchup is dynamite and the team matchup is glamorous. I can’t think of a better way to cap off a day of four playoff baseball games. The Cubs are the overwhelming favorite, but at first blush the price seems a little steep. Lester has been excellent all season long, but Cueto has matched him over the past month and, aside from a rough patch in late July, most of the season.
That said, I am not willing to back San Fran with money against Lester given their massive offensive woes. It’s hard to see them lighting up the veteran lefty tonight in the Friendly Confines. My gut feel is that tonight is a tense and low-scoring affair. Yes, the Cubs lineup is daunting, and Cueto has the famous “KWAYYYY-TOEEE!” ball-dropping wildcard game on his postseason resume. But he also has a World Series ring that he more than earned last postseason with the Royals. I expect him to deal tonight as well.
The season series between these two was 4-3 Cubs with a ton of one-run contests along the way. I think tonight has 3-2, 2-1 type game written all over it. Cueto won his last four starts of the season following a no-decision in a Sept 4th 3-2 loss at Chicago. Oh, and there is that pesky stat; the Giants have won their last eleven postseason series…
The Cubs are clearly the better team, but there are no guarantees in the MLB Postseason and beware of dismissing the G-Men too soon. I like a good, tense series that starts off tonight with a low scoring nail-biter.