Our winning streak was snapped last night as the Mets came up big in knocking off the Nationals and Tanner Roarke 3-1 in a game they desperately needed to hang around the thick of the wildcard race. It was just Roarke’s eighth loss of the season, and though he only allowed two runs, he was far from his normal self, allowing four walks and four more hits in just five innings. It wasn’t a bad outing, and he likely could have gone another inning at least but with the Nats all but locked in to the second spot in the NL Playoffs, I imagine Dusty wanted to error on the side of caution.
Elsewhere, the Giants and MadBum snapped the Cubs winning streak by winning a 3-2, playoff-like battle against Jake Arrieta. Like Roarke, Arrieta wasn’t ‘bad’, with only two of the three runs earned in his six innings, but he took the loss, his sixth of the season, nonetheless. If you take a step back, Arrieta is just 7-6 with an ERA in the mid-high threes since June 1st, creating an interesting situation for the Cubs. Objectively, he is (at best) their number three starter heading into the postseason…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Washington Nationals +115 at New York Mets -125 (Total: 8)
Reynaldo Lopez (2-2,5.33 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (2-2, 2.60 ERA)
A rookie starter has won each of the first two games of this series, and it is likely to happen a third time as a pair of rooks matchup in the rubber match of an important series. The Mets can pull even in the wildcard race tonight with a win and the Reds completing a surprising series sweep against the Cardinals, but first things first, they will need to get a solid outing from rookie Seth Lugo.
Lugo enters with a nice small-sample stat-line, a 2-2 record with a tidy 2.60 ERA. However, this is only his fourth career start, all consecutive, so we shall see if he is still fresh and sharp after a few weeks of a different workload level. His previous outing was a nice six-inning, two-run effort against Miami that earned him his second straight win as a starter. He appears to be a nice fill-in for the battered Mets rotation – yet ANOTHER young twenty-something arm to join the stable.
Meanwhile, Reynaldo Lopez is here by design and a starter by trade. The 22-year old is making his sixth career start and seeking a third career quality start. His last outing was rough; 2.2 innings with six runs (four earned) and ten baserunners against the Orioles. The good news is he only threw 82 pitches so he should be fresh. He has excellent stuff, and the Mets lineup, even when they win, hasn’t been lighting up the board. They have tallied one or two runs in four of their last seven games.
I like both inexperienced pitchers to fare well tonight, even with slightly lowered expectations. The TOTAL is set at 8, more as a reflection of the youth/inexperience of the starters than an expression of confidence in a pair of offenses that have combined for nine runs so far this series. I’ll take both starters to fare better than projected and keep the TOTAL under the 8 mark.