I cashed in one of my bigger underdog daily picks of the season with the Brewers blanking the Pirates 4-0 behind yet another solid outing by Yovani Gallardo. The Brewers were right around +155 to +160 last night, so a nice return on last night’s pick. We will try to keep the good momentum rolling into the weekend with a Friday night winner.
If you are a baseball fan, there are some real good series competing for your attention (along with the explosion of college football and some terrific games) this weekend. The Pirates and Cardinals will battle it out for the NL Central lead, while in the American League Central, the two top teams, the Tigers and Indians will meet up for another weekend series. The last time those two met the Tigers pulled away with a devastating four-game sweep. The Indians need to return the favor if they have any chance of catching Detroit (6 ½ games back entering the series), but they also need to do no worse than two of three, as they are still within spitting distance of the final wildcard spot.
It’s going to be a great week of baseball, and I’ll have picks throughout the weekend – but let’s get things started with today’s free pick.
Miami Marlins +125 at Atlanta Braves -133 (Total: 6.5)
Jose Fernandez (10-5, 2.30 ERA) vs. Julio Tehran (10-7, 3.08 ERA)
The Marlins might be the worst team in the National League and may have dropped eight of their last ten, but it is still must-see television every time they give the ball to 21-year old phenom Jose Fernandez. Despite the fact the Marlins are 34 games under .500, they are a tidy 16-9 with Fernandez pitching, and have won three straight with him on the hill. He enters tonight with an ERA of 2.30 an falling, and a WHIP of an even 1.00. With Harvey going down, he is the only remaining challenger to Clayton Kershaw for the NL CY Young Award.
He will face off against an under-rated anchor of the Braves staff, another young fireballer, Julio Tehran. His season numbers aren’t nearly as gaudy, but his 10-7 record and 3.08 ERA are pretty darn good. People forget, he is only 22, and technically a rookie just like Fernandez. He struggled a bit in his last outing, giving up four runs and walking five batters in six innings against the Cardinals. But let’s not get too bent out of shape, it WAS against the Cardinals – and tonight’s lineup for Miami is a far cry from the NL’s best outfit in St. Louie. In Tehran’s last 22 outings, he has a sparkling 2.59 ERA over 139 innings.
Tehran has been impressive, and certainly has the advantage of facing a lesser lineup, but in truth, it hasn’t mattered WHO the opposing lineup is for Fernandez. He has held opponents under two runs in eight consecutive outings, posting a 1.33 ERA and 66 strikeouts over 54 innings. That’s pretty nasty stuff. And for good measure, batters are hitting just .188 against him; the second-best mark in all of baseball.
It all seems to add up to a low-scoring affair tonight in the ATL.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 6.5