Daniel Murphy. Or make that “Daniel Freaking Murphy.” The unlikely Mets hero of the postseason had firmly entrenched himself as yet another New Yorker to adorn that middle name to a large, rabid and tortured fan base, placing him along the likes of Aaron “freakin’” Boone and Bucky “freakin;” Dent. The assault on the postseason record book continued last night as Murphy homered in a record-tying fifth straight postseason game and the Mets now sit on a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Mets will try to close out the North Sider’s tonight and unfortunately for Joe Maddon and the Cubbies faithful, they won’t have to go through Lester or Arrieta to wrap things up. Instead, the daunting task of trying to keep a dream season alive falls to son Hamel, who has failed to complete five full innings in any of his last three starts…
So, is the dream still alive? Can Theo Epstein summon the ghosts of Red Sox past miracles and have them chase the goats out of Wrigley? As one fan so aptly stated, “We ain’t afraid of no goats”- but perhaps they should be afraid of a never-ending barrage of young power arms…
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Today’s Free Pick:
New York Mets +107 at Chicago Cubs -112 (lowest by far at 5dimes) (Total: 9)
Steven Matz vs. Jason Hamel
Let me first say, I am mad at myself for breaking all my rules last night in favor of “mojo” and “intuition.” The Mets were getting an amazing line and the far better starting pitcher. Shame on me.
That said, I STILL lean Cubs tonight. If there is ever a game to get after the Mets starting pitching, it is tonight. Not that Matz is a tomato can, but he is still clearly a peg below Harvey, Syndergaard and deGrom. And, IF they get past tonight, Harvey’s arm is still sore, Lester and Arrieta will be back on full rest and… OK, let’s take a breath. My point is – that same line of rationale and hope exists in the Cubs dugout. I really don’t think they’ll pack it in quite yet, and I expect them to win the game tonight.
But my favorite wager for tonight’s game is the UNDER 9. Yes, Hamel can’t even seem to even stay in the game long enough to factor in the decision, but his ERA in those games is just 3.75. That basically means he allows two runs and then cedes to the bullpen. Assuming an “all hands on deck” mentality tonight, I expect the Cubs bullpen to cobble together four or five respectable innings. And while I also expect the Cubs to get a few runs off Matz, I don’t think it’ll be a free-for-all.
I like this game in the 4-2 range, well under the sky-high line of 9 currently on the board.