We took a weird loss yesterday as the Reds scored five early runs off Jose Fernandez to deal the Marlins a catastrophic series sweep. We were still sitting pretty under the UNDER 7.5 as Dan Strailly dazzled, but two unearned runs pushed the total over the threshold and an otherwise weird winner (Strailly doin’ work while the surer-deal Fernandez scuffled) evaporated.
Elsewhere, just as I edge out on the “Rizzo for MVP” limb, Kris Bryant shook the tree last night becoming the first player in MLB history to go five-for-five with two homeruns in a game TWICE in the same season. The stunning repeat performance capped off a series sweep against the Brewers and all of sudden the Cubs are well ahead of pace to eclipse 100 wins and look to be THE dominant team in baseball heading to the postseason… And, oh yeah, Jake Arrieta got his 15th win in the process.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Washington Nationals -140 at Atlanta Braves +130 (Total: 7.5)
Tanner Roarke (13-6, 2.81 ERA) vs. Julio Tehran (3-9, 2.81 ERA)
I feel pretty confident saying that Julio Tehran is the best 3-9 pitcher in Major League Baseball. I doubt that is much consolation for the All Star, mired in a season where his team has the worst record in the National League, with the fewest runs scored in the National League and with the lowest team slugging percentage in all of baseball by a whopping .026 (even more staggering when you consider the margin between the best, Boston, and second-worst, Philadelphia, is barely three-quarters of a point).
It’s been a rough season for Tehran and the Bravos, but his personal performance has been admirable. His last four outings have been a little troublesome though. He had a four inning shutout two starts ago, and threw six inning of shutout baseball against the Rockies three starts ago, but the other three starts saw eleven runs cross the plate in just 12.2 innings. His innings total is lowering lately, and perhaps he is showing a little fatigue (or the Braves are being wisely cautious – either way, he is not on dominant form at the moment).
Meanwhile, Tanner Roarke has been one of the better unsung pitchers in the league. He has a legit shot to win 17 or 18 games this year with a mathematical shot at 20. His ERA is still UNDER 3, which is the best on his team that also features Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. His 13 wins are tied for third best in the NL, and his 4.3 WAR is fourth-best. In summary, he has been fantastic, even if his name doesn’t jump off the page and he will be an AWESOME Game Three starter in the postseason.
For tonight, I’ll take Roarke to slam the door on the offensively-anemic Braves. I’ll also bank on the Nats to get some runs off of Tehran. The -140 line is a pretty fair one, though a little less meaty than I’d like facing off against a guy with a sub-three ERA. But given both Roarke and the huge team offense edge of the Nats, the -1.5 runline of +115 is a nice value.