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Indians at Mariners – Free Pick August 20th

Cleveland Indians +102 at Seattle Mariners -110 (Total: 7.5)

Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Kevin Milwood

The Seattle Mariners aren’t as bad a ballclub as you likely think they are.  They certainly don’t put any fear in anyone’s heart when you see them looming on the schedule, but neither are they the easy series win some might envision when seeing a last-place squad on the docket.  They are only six games under .500, and playing in statistically, the most difficult division schedule in all of baseball (every single one of their division opponents is above .500, and one has the second-best record in all of MLB).  Granted, much of their success is buoyed by the fact they get to throw King Felix every fifth day, but all in all, this isn’t a bad ballclub.

I’m not sure the same can be said about the Cleveland Indians.  They have had injuries galore, but the heart of their troubles has been an inability to look anything but inept when they are not batting.  Both their pitching and fielding have killed them since the All Star break, and there is a good reason they have been baseball’s worst team over the past month.  Interestingly though, they do not have the worst ERA in baseball post-break.  That distinction belongs to the Los Angeles Angels (5.66) who are .03 worse than the Tribe…

Tonight’s game is an interesting one, as both starters have been roughed up of late.  Jimenez enters with a 9.98 ERA in his last three starts, while Milwood isn’t much better at 6.68.  Jimenez hasn’t made it past the sixth inning since before the 4th of July, and has allowed five or more runs in five of his last seven outings.

Milwood has been a little more hit or miss; he had the disastrous four-inning, seven-run outing against Baltimore, but has thrown a quality start in four of his last six outings (albeit barely).  He should enjoy pitching against a pedestrian lineup in spacious Safeco Field tonight, but I am not sure a big ballpark is quite enough to justify the microscopic run total line tonight.

A 7.5 total is generally reserved for a high-caliber pitcher’s duel; not an outing between two guys who have a combined 15+ ERA in their last three starts and a season combined ERA just a tenth of a point under 10.  I realize neither lineup if exactly the ’27 Yankees, but 7.5?  That feels a tad too low for my liking, and I’m banking on at least one of the starters to flame out and bust this line up early.

Free Pick:  Run Total OVER 7.5 (-110)