We notched another nice double-up winner with the Angels dispatching of the Red Sox and Angels almost exactly as prescribed here at the sportsgeek.com, with one MAJOR exception. I didn’t predict the Angels having to do so with star pitcher Garrett Richards leaving in the second inning with a likely season-ending leg injury. It is a HUGE blow to the best team in baseball, and makes the top heavy and chaotic American League even more in flux. Everyone gave the division to the A’s after the Lester trade – then the Angels stormed ahead of them.
Can they hold off the A’s without Richards?? It will be an interesting test for a team that lacks the big pitching names of their chief AL rivals…
I think in a perverse way, I find myself wanting the Angels to hold on, simply because the prospect of David Price and John Lester facing off in the most pressure packed wildcard game in its brief history (not that Price would get the ball in that scenario – but it would be a fascinating development)
OK, let’s get back to business with today’s free pick.
Today’s Free Pick:
There are a few interesting games on the board, and much better tv than today’s pick; David Price pitching in Tampa against his long-time mates, The Dodgers and Padres in a game with a 5.5 run total (lowest I’ve seen all season). But my pick today focuses on a less glamorous game, but a more potentially advantageous line.
Cleveland Indians -138 at Minnesota Twins +130 (Total: 7)
Corey Kluber (13-6, 2.41 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (13-8, 3.76 ERA)
How awesome has Kluber been over the last two months? Kluber is 6-0 with a 1.31 ERA in his last eight starts and has allowed four earned runs, struck out 55 and held opponents to a .161 average over 47 2-3 innings while going 4-0 in the last six. That’s Cy Young quality stuff. The right-hander gave up a run, five hits and fanned 10 for the second straight start over 7 2-3 innings of a 2-1, 11-inning victory over Baltimore on Friday and will be looking to have another quality start against a much less potent offensive team in Minnesota tonight.
The Twins will counter Phil Hughes, who has some career success against the Tribe, but hasn’t faced them since 2012 – a completely different ballclub and almost irrelevant numbers at this point in 2014. Even if he was on fire, I’d like Kluber tonight. I bet against him once at my own peril and I’m not making the same mistake tonight.
Cleveland has a better offense and a marked pitching advantage tonight. I like them at a reasonable -144 price.
Free Pick: Cleveland Indians to WIN -138