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Giants vs Pirates Pick for NL Wild Card

Wow. We notched a win last night, but the true winner was any baseball fan who caught the entirety of last night’s five hour game for the ages. The resilient Royals battled back from a 7-3 hole to make the game 7-6 in the 8th. They scored a dramatic run in the ninth to tie it at 7 and force extra innings. They fought back from an 8-7 deficit to notch a two-out walkoff 9-8 win in the 12th inning to cap off one of the wildest, most dramatic games in recent memory. Add in the “first playoff game in 29 years” factor and the crowd’s delirious joy throughout the night – even when things looked bleak, and it was simply a magical night.

I’ll take the winner as well, but anyone who tells you they had this game finishing 9-8 is not telling you the truth. It was a wild one.

Let’s hope today’s game can manufacture a small fraction of last night’s drama…

Today’s Free Pick:

San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates
Madison Baumgardner vs. Edinson Volquez

Much like last night, this game is essentially a coin flip. You have the Giants with the better season metrics facing off against a hotter team on their home field. In June, a Bay Area World Series redux seemed in order. Now? Both could be sitting at home by October 2nd.

Madison Baumgardner has been excellent down the stretch, posting an ERA in the low twos with a 6-2 record since August 11th. Edinson Volquez has been even better. I’ve chronicled at length how fantastic he has been in the last two months on several occasions, but the numbers still ring true. He hasn’t lost in over two months and has posted a 1.54 ERA over that stretch.

If you recall back to last year’s chaos in the ‘Burgh, you’ll likely still feel your ears ringing with the “Kwaaaaay Toooohhh” cheers that visibly rattled the Reds Johnny Cueto, who eventually dropped the ball (literally) while standing on the mound. Will they be able to have the same effect on Madison Baumgardner? I doubt it, but we saw last night the intangible effect an ebullient home crowd can have on the home squad – lifting their spirits and keeping emotion hig even if things aren’t going perfectly.
I like the same lifting effect tonight, and love the Pirates at even money. Volquez has been nothing BUT money the last two months. The two more recently reigning NL MVP’s will be on the field tonight in Buster Posey and Andrew McCutchen. I like each to have an impact tonight, but I’ll take Cutch and the home team to prevail in a competitive and tense ballgame.

Free Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates to WIN +100