My faith in the Pirates behind A.J. Burnett last night was a stress-free big winner with A.J. Burnett moving to 5-1 on the season as the Pirates jumped all over the Padres early en route to an 11-5 win. The score was 7-0 by the fourth inning, and even with a little boredom settling in for Burnett, the Pads were never able to make it a close game. I am still stunned that line was a close to even as it was and that you could get the Pirates at a fat juicy +150 on the runline. But hey, every once in a while there is a nice line sitting on a silver platter over the course of a long season. It’s the fifth straight winning pick (sixth if you’d like to count the win and runline as separate wagers) and we are starting to get a little MLB momentum.
There is a whole big slate of series kicking off tonight including a fun interleague series between two of the more exciting young teams in baseball, the Royals and Cubs (4:10 EST start) and two of the best teams in the National League renewing their playoff rivalry, the Cardinals and Dodgers. It should be a great weekend of action on the diamond, so let’s see if we can make it even better with a few more winners.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Washington Nationals -125 at Cincinnati Reds +115 (Total: 7.5)
Stephen Strasburg vs. Anthony DeSclafani
Are you sure you want to stake a week-long winning streak on the terrible Cincinnati Reds?? (I ask half-serious, half-incredulous). The Reds are mired in a death spiral, losing ten of eleven games and looking like the worst team in the National League. Even their closer, Aroldis Chapman, has taken a few losses, so their one strength isn’t even that strong right now. It’s BAD in Cincinnati with injuries and age taking a toll. SO surely they are in for a rough start against fireballing Stephen Strasburg, right??
Well, maybe. Strasburg has been bad this season. Not “not as good as expected” or “scuffling a bit.” He has been BAD. He enters tonight with an ERA of 6.50 and a WHIP of 1.69. His last three starts have been an abomination, posting an ERA of 11.23 and a WHIP just under two. In fact, he hasn’t delivered a quality start since April 19th. So, on the surface “Stras against the scuffling Reds” sounds wonderful. But I am not going to get sucked into that trap.
Anthony DeSclafani burst into the season looking like a great addition to the Reds and someone who could ease the loss of Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon in the offseason. But his recent outings have been shaky, going 0-1 with a 5.62 ERA in his last three outings and lasting only a combined 16 innings. He is going to have a tough task keeping Bryce Harper and the Nats in the yard on a warm night in hitter-friendly GABP.
I’m not willing to put money on either starter tonight. But I will bet against them both. Look for some runs tonight for both teams and a (hopefully easy) winner on the over 7.5.