The Braves, Royals and Tigers all remained perfect yesterday at 5-0 to start the season, while the fourth unbeaten team, Cincinnati, fell in a ptichers duel to the Cardinals as Michael Wacha bested Johnny Cueto. The most impressive win might have been Detroit’s (and not just because it was my winning play to push the season record to 5-3 ATS) but because for the second time this season David Price and the Tigers got the best of another team’s ace, this time reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and the Indians. There was some question marks surrounding the Tigers this season; the loss of Scherzer, the aging lineup – but so far, so good in Detroit and it looks like they and Kansas City could be in for one of the better division races in baseball.
We will try to cap off a winning week right this afternoon with another winning play. Let’s dive in.
Today’s Free Pick:
New York Mets +104 at Atlanta Braves -114 (Total: 6.5)
Bartolo Colon (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Alex Wood (1-0, 3.60)
Neither injury, PED-suspension, not Father Time can seem to dislodge the ageless Bartolo Colon from the game of baseball. The 41-year old hurler is back, and will be taking the mound today trying to best the young lefty (who was six when Colon made his MLB debut) and hand the Braves their first loss on the season.
The attention on the Braves preseason focused on who they no longer had; Evan Gattis, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and even the stunning trade of Craig Kimbrel on the eve of the season opener. But perhaps the attention can now begin to shift to who they DO have. Their relief corp has pitched 18 scoreless innings and has allowed only 5 hits all season. Their offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Jonny Gomes has tallied 26 runs in five games. If they can scratch out three or four today against the Mets, it should be enough.
Freddie Freeman is 6 for 10 lifetime against Colon with three doubles, and Gomes is 8 of 17 with two homeruns. I expect one or both to help get the run the Braves need to prevail.
The Mets have gotten decent pitching and their offense has been OK at times, with both averaging 3.2 runs per contest respectively. However, with a team batting average of just .196, those runs might be a bit masking of some underlying issues. It isn’t a surprise that the Mets aren’t hitting a ton, but they are going to have to get a little better than sub-.200 hitting to contend in the East and avoid getting buried by the Braves (and Nats) before the season even gets rolling.
Colon looked good in the opener, but relying on him as a number one starter (realistically a number two or three behind Harvey and Niese) might be a little optimistic. I like Atlanta to get a few runs early and for Wood to be controlling in the game throughout. If he can give them seven solid innings, the door appears to be slamming shut; Kimbrel or no Kimbrel; this Brave bullpen gets the job done.
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