It was a big and dramatic night in the National League last night, highlighted with St. Louis’s 4-3 win over the Pirates in 14 innings. The Cardinals victory coupled with the Reds dramatic 11 inning win in Chicago has things getting pretty tight atop the NL Central. The Cardinals have closed to just two games back while Cincinnati is still lurking at 3 ½ behind (and they play six of their final nine games against Pittsburgh. It’s going to be a fun month and a half in the only division still up for grabs in the senior circuit.
Meanwhile, the Giants came up short last night, and with them my upset plus-money wager. Tonight I’ll try to rebound with a more cautious wager; focusing on the Seattle Mariners at the Trop, trying to extend the Rays losing streak to seven games, and to their longest slide in over four years.
Seattle Mariners +255 at Tampa Bay Rays -270 (Total: 7)
Aaron Harang (5-10, 5.79 ERA) vs. David Price (6-5, 3.17 ERA)
The numbers on David Price are a little misleading due to his uncharacteristically slow start. In his post-All Star appearances, he has been nearly unhittable. His last outing was a wasted seven inning shutout gem (he earned a no-decision), but he has given his team a chance to win every time he has taken the mound. He is 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA in his last eight starts, all since returning from a triceps strain.
His counterpart tonight is still managing to just barely hang around the big leagues, nearly four years after his solid tenure in Cincinnati came to an injury-riddled conclusion. He started six straight opening days for the Reds, but with an ERA near six, Harang really needs a solid final two months to feel good about being in the show next year. His last outing was a good sign. Like Price, he took a ND, but went a solid seven innings, allowing only two runs to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Mariners took advantage of another struggling starter for Tampa last night, but I think that comes to an end with Price this evening. The Mariners were hitting just .212 as a team in their previous six games. I expect them to struggle mightily against Price this evening.
The -270 is too steep a price for my liking in any baseball game, but I do like the score staying low tonight. Unless the Rays have an offensive explosion, I could see this one tucking comfortably under the seven run total.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 7