We took a one day hiatus yesterday but are back on the grind today looking to build on a healthy 12-5 ATS September. Meanwhile, things keep getting more and more interesting in the NL wildcard race. Sure, the division titles are all but foregone conclusions at this point, but the Mets loss coupled with narrow Giants and Cardinals wins have the race for the final two spots in a three-way deadlock with less than two weeks to play. Bud Selig may catch a lot of heat, but were it not for the new advents in playoff formatting; this season would be an absolute snoozer.
The Cardinals have an afternoon tilt to wrap things up in Colorado while the Mets send Bartolo Colon to the hill this evening to hopefully handle his business against the last-place Mets and the Giants will look to take the rubber match against the Dodgers with Matt Moore dueling Kenta Maeda on ESPN at 10pm.
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Today’s Free Pick:
San Francisco Giants +140 at Los Angeles Dodgers -150 (Total: 7.5)
Matt Moore (11-11, 4.09 ERA) vs. Kenta Maeda (15-9, 3.23 ERA)
The Giants not only pulled even in the wildcard race last night, but they can take it a step further and keep their slim NL West hopes alive by backing it up with another win over the Dodgers tonight. A W tonight pulls them to just four game back, no small feat after the series began by wasting a Madison Bumgarner gem by allowing two runs in the ninth to lose 2-1. It is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of last night’s bounce-back 2-0 victory, or downplay the display of the “heart of a champion” that this team seems to be able to summon in September and October.
Tonight has the makings of yet another fantastic pitcher’s duel in a series that has been dominated from the mound. Matt Moore has had a pretty average season, but in his last four non-Coors Field starts, he has only allowed five runs in 25 innings pitched. He’s been slightly better than hoped, and looks like a solid boost to the playoff rotation. Tonight is a HUGE spot for the new acquisition, but I think he will fare well.
Opposing Moore is Maeda, who has been a solid #2 most of the season before being likely knocked back a peg with the brilliance of Rich Hill. Maeda has been about as steady as it goes. He has rarely been dominant, but he has also not allowed more than three runs in an outing in his last ten. He generally gives up a run or two and turns in five or six innings like clockwork.
Add in a pair of scuffling offenses, playoff-like game management and intensity, and the gravity of the rubber match tonight and this has the making of another tense, low-scoring affair. I’ll take the UNDER tonight and stick with the series trend.