It was a good night for us at thesportsgeek.com, as our baseball pick hit alongside the lone NBA pick, but it wasn’t half as good of a night for me as it was for the White Sox young southpaw, Chris Sale. Sale was absolutely dominant against the Angels, allowing only a Mike Trout seeing-eye single in the seventh en route to throwing a one-hitter. Immediately following the inning the perfecto was the only scoring inning of the night, with the White Sox tallying three runs in the bottom of the seventh to ensure the 3-0 victory.
It’s all new matchups starting tonight, so let’s take a look at a few series openers and start the new week off with a few wins.
Milwaukee Brewers +136 at Pittsburgh Pirates -146 (Total: 7.5)
Marco Estrada vs AJ Burnett
The Brewers are mired in a terrible slump, having lost nine of their last ten games overall and entering following a three-game sweep at Cincinnati. During that stretch they have lost 7 of their 9 games by more than one run. On nights they hit, they are giving up a ton of runs (see the 13-7 loss Saturday in Cincy), and on days they get decent pitching, their bats go ice cold. You would think a team with three of the top ten hitters (in terms of batting average) would be having more success, but it’s been a bit of a snake bitten start to the season for the Brew Crew.
It isn’t likely to get any easier tonight against AJ Burnett. He has been good all season, but especially sharp in his last three outings, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.25 ERA. Meanwhile, his counterpart tonight has been struggling. Marco Estrada is 0-2 with an 8.59 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP over his last three outings, which lasted only 14 2/3 innings.
Milwaukee has been struggling, but their struggles are even more pronounced on the road where they are just 5-9 this season. It all adds up to a nice advantage for the Buccos tonight. I like them to win, and I love the value of them at +150 on the -1.5 runline.
Free Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates to WIN -146 & Pittsburgh Pirates -1.5 (+150)
Washington Nationals -125 at Los Angeles Dodgers +115 (Total: 7)
Jordan Zimmermann vs. Josh Beckett
It’s been a rough start to the year for one-time ace Josh Beckett. There was hope that a change of scenery would be just what Beckett needed to revive his career, but to this point in 2013, it hasn’t helped. He enters tonight without a single win (0-4) and his team just 1-6 in games he has started. And it hasn’t just been an issue of run support – he has an ERA over five and a WHIP near one and a half.
Meanwhile, Jordan Zimmermann will be on the bump for the Nationals. He is 6-1 personally and has earned a decision in every single game he has pitched. While some of that is certainly good fortune, another big component is his ability to pitch late in to ball games. He has thrown 51 innings, which is an average of more than seven per outing. With an ERA of 1.59 and a WHIP of 0.82, seven-plus innings a game is going to earn you more than your fair share of wins.
I think that record gets even better tonight. The Dodgers are struggling with the bats, scoring three or less runs in seven of their last ten games. And none of those games were against Jordan Zimmermann. I’ll take him and the Nats on the road tonight.
Free Pick: Washington Nationals to WIN -125