Remember when reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber was 0-5 and looking like he could be headed for the mother of all Cy Young hangovers?? Um, yeah. Kluber was simply masterful yesterday, turning in, no exaggeration, one of the best pitching performances in the history of baseball, striking out 18 batters and allowing just one hit. To make matters even more impressive, he did it against the best team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals. Does this mean Kluber will get back to last season’s dominance? Perhaps not, but it is an amazingly optimistic sign for Kluber and the disappointing thus far Indians moving forward.
I’ve been disappointing thus far as well, and it reached frustrating proportions yesterday with another loss as the head-hitting Royals stumbled against the Rangers, falling 5-2. No excuses on my end, losses are losses and are never good. It’s been one of the rougher patches in my five year run on thesportsgeek, so it’s definitely time to get back on track. Let’s start tonight with a nice matchup tonight in the National League.
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Today’s Free Pick:
San Francisco Giants +145 at Cincinnati Reds -155 (Total: 7)
Tim Lincecum vs. Johnny Cueto
The Reds and Giants have some history, dating back to two seasons ago epic collapse in the first round of the Playoffs which, due to some weird scheduling conflicts, forced the lower-seeded Giants to host the first two games and then play three on the road. Of course, in true baseball wacky fashion, the road team won all five games and ended up propelling the Giants to their second of three recent World Series crowns. Both of tonight’s starting pitchers were prominent in that series and will get a chance to square off tonight.
The early season stats favor Lincecum, whose ERA is nearly a full run lower so far this season. But the history against their respective opponents favors Cueto heavily. Hs is 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five career starts against the Giants. Meanwhile, Lincecum is a gaudy 0-4 with a 9.79 ERA against the Reds. Pitching in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark may not be pleasant for Lincecum who faces a Reds squad with some hitters with power heating up like Frazier and Marlon Byrd.
Cueto has had some tough luck with run support this season, but will likely get a little cushion tonight if the Reds can keep up their historical success against Lincecum. Cueto is just 2-3, but his 0.94 WHIP indicates better things should be coming.
Look for the Reds bats to get the edge in tonight’s matchup of identical 17-17 teams records.