We got back on track last night with an easy cover in the Yankees vs. Rays UNDER, but the winning wager wasn’t half as sweet as the dramatic entrance and exit from Yankee Stadium by Mariano Rivera. Having Jeter and Pettite come out to the mound to make the pitching change was a brilliant stroke of theater and drama by Joe Girardi, and one Yankee faithful will always remember.
Thanks for one of the greatest and classiest careers in the history of sports Mariano; it’s been a pleasure to watch.
Let’s get to today’s action and string together consecutive winners heading into the season’s final weekend.
Washington Nationals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Total: 7.5)
Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 3.02 ERA) vs. Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.28 ERA)
This is a battle of disappointments. The D’Backs had more tempered expectations, but after a strong first half of the season, they expected to be more of a factor in the postseason race than they have been. For Washington, the season is a giant BUST. The season began with World Series of bust thoughts. It ended with a whimper and a sense of failure.
At least Strasburg is on the mound this September! OK, probably not much solace for Nat fans, but it is good to see him healthy and hurling in the final weekend of the season. He has been much better than his win/loss record suggests, but a 7-9 mark and a 13-16 team record in his starts is a big part of why they are sitting at home this October. In his last three starts he has finally gotten some run support. His ERA is 3.50, nearly a half-run higher than his season ERA, yet he is 1-0 and the team is 2-1 in those games.
Meanwhile, Patrick Corbin is limping to the finish line in his first full season in the majors. The southpaw had an electric first half of the season, but has fallen on hard times of late. He is 1-1 in his last three starts, but has posted an ERA of 7.38. Surprisingly, his team is 2-1 in those games. Much of the damage came two starts ago when he gave up six runs in four innings, but over his last ten starts, five have been good. Five have not. It’s a clear sign of a pitcher battling some late season fatigue, but who is still capable of getting hitters out when his stuff is sharp.
Some of these season games between teams with nothing to play for can be a bit tricky to handicap, as you aren’t exactly sure what the manager and team’s philosophy will be. For example, do you let a young reliever battle through trouble to get a glimpse of what he is made of, or do you go to the pen early like you would in a pennant race?
That said, I’m staying away from a winner in tonight’s game, and will instead make like yesterday and head for the safer haven of the UNDER. I like both young pitchers to finish strong in their final outings of the season and keep the game to a reasonably low score.