We grabbed a second straight winner last night but it had far more drama than necessary. The Brewers let a 8-1 seventh inning lead turn into an 8-8 tie, only to grab the winning run in the top of the ninth to escape with a 9-8 victory. It wasn’t pretty, but a W is a W, so let’s make like the Northsiders and see if we can fly a W Flag for the third straight time today.
Meanwhile, it was a day for jaw-dropping long balls from some of the games brightest young stars. Bryce Harper opened the game against Arizona by blasting a 470 foot-plus homerun and Aaron Judge blasting his second bomb of the weekend to shake off all the “Home Run Derby Jinx” nonsense. With temperatures skyrocketing across the country, don’t be surprised to see a few more balls flying out of the yard this afternoon.
It’s a good slate of action today from a pitching perspective; Kershaw, Strasburg and Corey Kluber are all on the mound and in the ESPN Sunday Night contest, Jose Quintana gets the ball for the second time as a Chicago Cub.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Washington Nationals -119 at Arizona Diamondbacks +109 (Total: 8.5)
Stephen Strasburg (10-3, 3.31 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (9-4, 2.97 ERA)
How do you cool off two of the hottest offenses in baseball? Run two of the best ‘bat-missers’ in the league to the mound. Robbie Ray and Stephen Strasburg rank third and fifth respectively in the National League in strikeouts, and that ability to miss hitters’ bats will be key on a Sunday afternoon rubber match. Ray is holding hitters to a minuscule .201 batting average and Stras is at .219 but a dazzling 1.10 WHIP (fourth in the NL). The pitchers figure to have the upper hand today, which makes the Under 8.5 pretty attractive.
The Diamondbacks have won eight of Ray’s last ten starts, but dropped two of the last three. Arizona is still a more valuable play, being at home and with a slight (very slight) statistical edge in starting pitching and the much better bullpen. Strasburg has been unhittable in three of his last four starts, allowing just three runs and fanning 30 batters. However, the matchup is so close, I am staying off picking a winner (again, VALUE is on Arizona, but it is a pretty big toss-up with a pair of dynamite offenses facing dominating pitchers).
Good pitching beats good hitting right? The roof will be closed in Arizona, and I think the runs will be closed down as well. Look for close to 20 combined strikeouts today in a low-scoring affair.
Today’s MLB Pick: RUN TOTAL UNDER 8.5