I wish the All Star Break wasn’t almost here. Sure, it’s one of the cooler events in sports, but no one wants a four-day hiatus while riding on a torrid 9-2 ATS streak with five plus-money winners and no favorites. We notched another winner last night with the Cardinals and Brewers tucking safely under the nine run threshold in a 4-3 Brewers victory.
Elsewhere, it’s nearing a disaster in New York. Both Noah Syndergaard AND Yoenis Cespedes left the game last night with injuries; on top of the loss to the division-leading Nationals. This comes just a day after Matt Harvey announced he was once again having season-ending surgery. Add in the David Wright injury and the pushed back return of Zach Wheeler and things are getting really dire in Gotham.
And finally, the Cubs dropped their fourth straight game, this time with the Pirates hammering Jake Arrieta for his FOURTH loss in five outings, to continue his and their troubling slide. The talk of greatest team ever has obviously subsided. In fact, they are now behind Giants and Rangers and are tied with the Nationals and Indians in the win column. Their once insurmountable lead could be trimmed as low as five and half games heading into the break if they don’t snap out of their funk soon…
There’s no funk for us, so let’s keep the good times rolling into the weekend and see if we can grab a tenth winner in twelve plays.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Washington Nationals -168 at New York Mets +158 (Total: 7.5)
Max Scherzer (9-6, 3.21 ERA) vs. Logan Verrett (3-5, 4.01 ERA)
Logan Verrett has a lot on his shoulders today. Not only is he trying to keep his team within shouting distance in the NL East against the division-leading Nationals, he is also trying to establish himself as a worthy inclusion to the starting staff in place of Matt Harvey. Or possibly even Noah Syndergaard…
So basically, “hey kid, if you want to earn your spot in the majors and with the team, go ahead and replace two of the most talented and overpowering pitchers in baseball and beat the team with the second best record in the league against a guy who has thrown a pair of no-hitters and leads the NL in strikeouts.”
So, no pressure.
The tricky thing is, Verrett, despite some good overall numbers, doesn’t enter with good momentum. In his five starts he has lasted only 23 innings and has had real control problems, walking 15 batters. He will need to throw strikes and attack the Nationals lineup today to keep pace with Scherzer, but I don’t think it’ll be enough. The Mets are certainly against the ropes right now and NEED a solid outing, but overcoming Scherzer today might be too much. Scherzer, who was named as an All Star to replace Strasburg (who remained perfect at 12-0 with a win yesterday) has allowed one run or less in his last six starts and looks like the dominant ace of year’s past instead of the guy who had an ERA near four a month ago. In his last start in New York last October, Scherzer pitched a 17-strikeout NO HITTER without a walk, so it is fair to say he is eager to pitch in CitiField.
It all adds up to some real nice value on the runline with the Nats tonight at near even money. I like them to win with a little cushion and get us another healthy return.