The beat kept rolling yesterday as we notched another winner, this time with the Reds easily dispatching the Milwaukee Brewers, even with a few late runs turning the yawner into at least a slightly save-worthy situation. The win was our fourth in a row and pushed the September stretch run record to a nice 9-3 ATS with a few underdogs in the mix.
It was a dramatic night in the National League with most of the game drama being provided by teams with season drama. The New York Mets won a wild one to keep pace in the wildcard race after allowing Washington to score twice in the ninth to tie the game at 3-3 and then winning 4-3 in the tenth. Meanwhile, St Louis knocked off the scorching Cubs to keep Chicago’s magic number locked at three – but more importantly, pushed St. Louis a half game back of losing San Francisco in the wildcard race.
More drama today/tonight as the Mets close up against Tanner Roarke and the Nats, St. Louis has an afternoon matinee against Jon Lester and the G-Men send ace Madison Bumgarner to the mound against the Padres as a staggering -267 favorite.
Let’s see if we can make it five in a row with Today’s Free Pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Miami Marlins -135 at Atlanta Braves +125 (Total: 7)
Jose Fernandez (14-8, 2.90 ERA) vs. Julio Tehran (5-9, 3.01)
It’s been a weird month for Marlins’ ace Jose Fernandez. He has three starts where he hasn’t allowed a single run, fanning 29 batters in 20 innings. And he has two bombs, allowing 11 runs in 8.2 innings. It is about as feast or famine as it gets, and very uncharacteristic of the steady young hurler. However, he has one major thing working in his favor tonight; he is pitching against the worst team in the league, the Atlanta Braves.
If the Braves ARE gonna steal one, it is likely to happen with THEIR ace on the mound, Julio Tehran. Tehran deserves far more than a scant five wins and was a worthy All Star selection this season, regardless of the “every team gets a guy” rule. He is that good. He has allowed just four runs in his last three starts (19.0 IP) with 18 K’s. Tonight is a battle of similar pitchers, and while the edge goes to Fernandez, there is a ton of missed-bat potential tonight.
Both pitchers bring a ton of dazzling stuff to the mound and neither lineup inspires much fear.
However, I am still going counter-culture with the OVER pick (and the corresponding nice line at +105). Two main reasons – one, the line is really low at just seven. Two, Fernandez, for whatever reason, is far worse on the road than at home. This season he is just 3-6 with a 4.34 ERA away from Marlins Park and was absolutely blasted in his last trip to Atlanta. Tehran has also struggled oddly against the Marlins. He is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA this season.
If anyone is watching this game (and that seems fairly unlikely with the host of better games to watch on the slate) they are tuning in for a pitching gem. But I think, as fans of these two teams have felt all season, they will go away disappointed. I’ll take the OVER 7 tonight as both pitchers fail to live up to their dominating potential. There may be a few strikeouts along the way, but also hit, baserunners, and at least three innings of some pretty shaky bullpens.