The NL postseason commences tomorrow with the two most recent NL pennant winners locking horns in an absolutely fabulous pitcher’s duel between Noah Syndergaard and postseason god, Madison Bumgarner. But before we get to tonight’s game (and pick), let’s quickly take a look at the bigger picture.
The favorite is obvious, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs enter with the two top pitchers by ERA in the National League, and one of them ISN’T Jake Arrieta. Add in John Lackey who ranks 12th, and you have four of the top dozen pitchers in the league armed and ready for action. An underrated part of that equation is the fantastic defense happening behind these hurlers, but either way, the Cubs are the overwhelming favorite in all three facets of the game. But does that make them a good value to win the World Series at just +225?
Well, when you consider how infrequently the favorite actually WINS the World Series since the advent of the Wildcard Era, it would be hard to argue they are a good bet. Yes, they are the best on paper, but would you be STUNNED if the Mets or Giants got them in a short series? That makes the winner of tonight’s game a nice value at either +1600 (Mets) or +2000 (Giants). We KNOW San Fran knows what to do in October and the Mets DID sweep the Cubbies here a year ago.
Of course, a big part of that sweep was Mister Daniel Murphy, who now plies his trade for the Nats, who check in at +600. But with injuries to Strasburg and catcher Wilson Ramos, I am needing much more value than +600.
It leaves the LA Dodgers as my favorite NL value play. They have a legit ace with something to prove, and capable 2/3 starters in Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda, and the offense in starting to click. Is this the year they FINALLY exorcise some postseason demons? I like the value at +1000.
It’s going to be a great month of baseball and we will be here to cover all the action.
Today’s Free Pick:
San Francisco Giants -111 at New York Mets +101 (Total: 6)
Madison Bumgarner vs. Noah Syndergaard
It doesn’t get much better than this. The two most recent NL pennant winners with two of the most dynamic pitchers in all of baseball on the mound. The Mets have home field advantage, the Giants have MadBum. Advantage neutral.
Let me start by couching this pick with a little honesty. If there were ten to twelve games on the slate today, there is no way this is a game I am picking to wager. It honestly could go either way. SO think of today’s play as a tepid, conservative lean rather than a braggadocios endorsement.
I have a hard time EVER betting against Bumgarner after his World Series and postseason in 2014. He is arguably the best money pitcher in postseason history and will likely be excellent tonight. That puts a ton of pressure on the young fireballer Noah Syndergaard. He has had a ton of trouble controlling the running game this season and the Giants have plenty of speed at the top of the order. Look for the to manufacture a run or two tonight, and that might be enough to prevail.
Jay Bruce is on FIRE and Cespedes is dangerous. They could very well run into one tonight, but I don’t see the Mets mounting sustained, consistent base runners and offensive pressure. Bumgarner is too good, and even better in THESE moments. In a toss-up situation, I’ll default to trusting MadBum and letting the chips fall where they may…