We notched an incredibly easy big underdog winner last night as the Cincinnati Reds stayed hot and completely thrashed the Los Angeles Dodgers. They took a 7-0 lead before the blink of an eye and Brandon Finnegan took care of the rest, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning en route to a rain-lengthened 11-1 victory. In three starts against the Dodgers this season, Brandon Finnegan has looked like Sandy Koufax. The rest of the season, not so much, but against the Dodgers…
Elsewhere, the Nationals won a third straight game, again in wacky fashion, knocking off the suddenly-potent offense of the Braves, 11-9. They needed the win to keep pace with the Cubs and Kris Bryant who belted another massive homerun in the Cubs 9-2 victory in Coors. This week’s offensive output moves Bryant comfortably ahead in the MVP race, but Daniel Murphy and his .348 average with 23 homeruns deserves a long, long look and could still sneak in the mix if Rizzo splits any of the votes.
Let’s keep the nice momentum going and finish the week strong with another easy winner.
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Today’s Free Pick:
New York Mets -117 at San Francisco Giants +107 (Total: 7.5)
Noah Syndergaard (10-7, 2.76 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (10-8, 4.24 ERA)
At a glance, this matchup looks like must-see television; a pair of former All Star pitchers, a pair of October-tested teams in the past two National League champs, and the bright lights of Sunday Night Baseball. But further inspection reveals one big time starter who has been a little off his game and another top-line starter who has frankly been below-average since the end of May and isn’t even a guarantee to make the playoff rotation at this point.
So my first instinct is the back the OVER tonight. Samardzija and the Giants are just 3-7 in the last ten games he has started and he has allowed four or more runs in seven of those ten starts as well. He has only two quality starts over that span and his ERA has climbed from 2.84 at the end of May to its current 4.24 mark (down from a high-water mark of 4.40).
Noah Syndergaard’s decline has been less precipitous, but the fireballer has scuffled a bit more lately. His ERA was under two a few months ago, now it is flirting with three. He hasn’t thrown a quality start in his last three outings and the Mets are just 5-5 in his last ten outings. He is still striking people out, but he isn’t dominating games in the same fashion. He is hittable, and the Giants have a patient, smart lineup that knows how to grind out pitchers in postseason fashion. I expect them to chase him away from the mound by the sixth inning.
I don’t think either starter gets humiliated tonight, but I do think at least one team will get some runs. Forty runs have already crossed the plate in the first three games of this series, so if things continue anywhere close to the same fashion, we should be able to cash another winning wager.