I don’t ever like to make overwhelmingly broad or bold predictions in MLB. After all, this is a sport where the best teams lose 60 times and the worst teams win 60 times. The margin between amazing and inept is as slim as in any professional sport. However, every so often a line just flies off the board and screams at me – and I think I have one of those lines tonight…
But first, how about Albert Pujols? He has been all but forgotten over the last few years as his numbers have tailed off back towards mere-mortal statistics and he has been largely overshadowed by his teammate Mike Trout. But his last three weeks have been simply ridiculous, and he belted his 17th homerun last night to pass Mickey Mantle for sole possession of 16th place on the All-Time list. Assuming he stays healthy, we could be looking at the first legitimate assault on the record books since Henry Aaron. Either way, he is back to being a no-doubt automatic All Star again, and that is fantastic for the game.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Seattle Mariners -145 at Houston Astros +135 (Total: 7.5)
Felix Hernandez vs. Brett Oberholtzer
Look, I get that Brett Oberholtzer isn’t Cy Young, or even an established big league pitcher, but he IS facing the most anemic offense in the league tonight and he gets to do so in his home ballpark. On the opposing mound is King Felix, one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball and a young gun who is already close to having compiled a Hall of Fame resume.
So where are the runs coming from tonight?? And how is this game 7.5? Maybe 7 and I wouldn’t have batted an eye at 6.5. But the extra half run raised my curiosity enough to really dig into this line and make sure I’m not panning fool’s gold.
I don’t think I am. Felix has been great this season at 9-2 with a 2.51 ERA and spectacular 0.96 WHIP. Even more impressive, the M’s are 10-2 in games he has started despite the fact they are, again, the worst offensive team in the league. Robinson Cano has an OPS of around .600 and they are STILL winning some games and in relative contention, thanks almost solely to Felix’s contributions.
SO will they dent the board against Oberholtzer? Maybe enough to win, but I can’t see either team piling up the five runs it’ll take to get this total OVER 7.5. Seattle is averaging just 3.45 runs per game and Houston is hitting four points WORSE than the Mariners as a team at .230 (indicating a regression to the mean in likely in that division – so don’t write off the Angels and M’s quite yet)
Look for the pitchers to rule the day and this game to safely tuck under the 7.5 total.