The wins just keep on coming in September as we picked up another easy win last night. We backed the Cleveland Indians at home as small favorites, and they were able to get the job done, and we cashed our ticket. I liked our side of the starting pitching matchup as Mike Clevinger has very quietly been putting together an elite season for the Indians, while Rick Porcello was seemingly being propped up by the elite Boston offense. He hasn’t pitched poorly this year, but his win total was clearly inflated.
Porcello got beat up early, but it could have been much worse. All told, Porcello pitched five innings and allowed four runs, but he gave up eight hits and two walks and was lucky he didn’t get hammered for much more as he was constantly working in and out of jams. Clevinger had his fair share of trouble as well, getting into several jams, but he remained mostly unscathed as he allowed just two runs in his five innings of work and picked up the win for Cleveland.
Clevinger was able to pick up his 200th strikeout of the season last night, and that makes the Indians the first team EVER to have four starting pitchers strike out at least 200 in a season. If you have any doubts about this team being able to win it all you need to take another look. This team is talented everywhere and with Josh Donaldson all the sudden healthy and playing well, this team needs to be feared. For today’s pick, I switch focus over to the National League and break down the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Milwaukee Brewers are in Pittsburgh Sunday for game three of a three-game series with the Pirates. This series is tied at one game apiece as the Pirates have been doing their best to play spoiler as the Brewers look to advance to the playoffs. The Pirates have been a thorn in the sides of the Brewers all season long as they have a 12-6 record against Milwaukee. The Brew Crew are clinging to a two-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for home field in the wild-card round of the National League playoffs.
Starting for the Brewers is Wade Miley (5-2 2.08 ERA), and for the Pirates, it is Nick Kingham (5-6 4.69 ERA). The Brewers are -145 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 10:35 AM PST from PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
What has gotten into Wade Miley this year? Since rejoining this Brewers rotation in early July, this guy has been pitching at an elite level. He has an ERA of just 2.08 on the season and has been a huge addition to this Brewers pitching staff. He has been even better here down the stretch as he is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three September starts. He has allowed two runs or fewer in all but one of his starts this season. History tells us that Miley can’t possibly be this good forever, but he is really impressing right now.
For the Pirates, they will start Nick Kingham. Kingham was used as a starter earlier this season and struggled in that role. As a starter, he had an ERA of over five runs and was a bit of a punching bag for the Pirates. They shifted him to the bullpen, and the rookie has struggled in that role as well. Kingham has three appearances against Milwaukee this season and has been hit hard all three times. In two starts and one relief appearance Kingham has pitched a combined thirteen and two-thirds of an inning and has allowed eight runs.
Towards the end of the MLB season, you see a lot of situations like this one. You have one team, the Milwaukee Brewers, that are going to do literally everything they can to win today as their playoff fate rides on it. And you have another team, in the Pittsburgh Pirates, that is starting Nick Kingham. No disrespect to Kingham, he is in just his first ever MLB season, but when the Pirates were trying to compete to actually win games, they sent him to the bullpen.
It has only been since the Pirates have fallen out of contention that Kingham has been thrown back into the rotation. And we will be right here to take advantage of it. This line should probably be -180 or more based on the starting pitching matchup and the talent on the field, but the fact that the Pirates have somehow managed to own the Brewers this year has kept this number tighter.
And that does worry me a little bit. But in the end, I see the Brewers as the much more motivated team, that is playing for everything and has by far the better starter on the mound. So, I will lay a little wood and take advantage of a bad number in this one. Give me the Milwaukee Brewers as road favorites today in game three from Pittsburgh at -145!