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Marlins vs Reds Pick MLB – April 18th

It was an interesting night in baseball last night, as the Tigers and Mariners combined for 40 strikeouts in a 14-inning thriller that ended on a collision at the plate and the Tigers catcher holding onto the ball to preserve the 2-1 win.  It isn’t everyday a team wins while striking out 21 times… in fact, the Tigers had struck out 16 times the night before, making them the first team EVER to strike out 16 or more times in two consecutive games and WIN them both.

So perhaps strikeouts aren’t the end-all be-all most fans think them to be.  That’s god news for teams like Boston, Atlanta and Cincinnati; all three of whom are in or near first place in their division and rank in the top five in the league with 126, 121, and 121 whiffs respectively.

Of course, there is Houston dwarfing everyone with 146 K’s, but their pitching is so bad the Marlins wish they had moved to THEIR division instead of the AL West…

Speaking of the Fish, let’s get to them and a few other teams for tonight’s free picks.

Miami Marlins +148 at Cincinnati Reds -158 (Total: 8)

Jose Fernandez (0-0, 0.83 ERA) vs. Tony Cingrani (first ML start)

Well, I suppose if you are going to make your first major league start, it might as well be against a team that will make you feel like you never left Triple-A Louisville!  The Marlins and their anemic offense will get a nice addition tonight with the return of Giancarlo Stanton, but as Stanton will come to frustratingly know, it is not impossible to pitch around one guy when you are only concerned about one guy beating you.  It is, not joking, essentially a minor-league lineup outside of Stanton and Placido Polanco (and possibly the expiring corpse of Juan Pierre…)

I expect Cingrani, the top pitching prospect in the Reds organization, to pitch well tonight against the Marlins.  He is a 23-year old, but an experienced pitcher who pitched for Rice in the College World Series and quickly rose through the minor leagues, very similar to a Mike Leake.

For the Marlins, Fernandez has been excellent this year despite having not earned his first win.  The 20-year old has posted a tiny 0.73 WHIP in his two outings, but will face a difficult lineup tonight.  The Reds strikeout a ton, as mentioned in today’s open, but they also score a lot of runs.  They are second in the NL with 82 runs scored, one behind the Colorado Rockies.  They are also playing pretty good baseball coming off a three-game sweep of the Phillies to run their home record to 7-2 this season.  Meanwhile the Marlins are floundering at 3-12 and have scored the fewest runs in all of baseball by a LOT, tallying just 32 runs in 15 games and batting an also-league-worst .209.

I like the Reds to score plenty and for Cingrani to give them five good innings then capitulate to a good and rested bullpen.

Free Picks:  Cincinnati Reds to WIN -158 & Cincinnati -1.5 (+135)