We are fresh off a 2-0 ATS MLB Monday before taking last night off to focus on the NBA (also a winner – and thanks to the folks who sent me “the Heat? What are you an IDIOT?” messages… it made the win a little sweeter) Just kidding. But it was a vintage bounce-back Heat performance. For those of you keeping score at home, they’ve now covered 12 straight games, all wins by double digits, following a loss. It is a pretty staggering streak, and speaks volumes to the ability to dig deep into the reserves when it is most needed.
But let’s get back to baseball – I’ll be back Sunday with a detailed pick for an absolutely crucial Game Five in the deadlocked series – but for now, let’s move on to tonight’s free baseball picks to kick off the weekend series.
Today’s Free Pick:
Washington Nationals +129 at Cleveland Indians -136 (Total: 7.5)
Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.59 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (8-5, 3.68 ERA)
This is an interesting matchup of two would-be aces in a battle of what have (or haven’t) you done for me lately. Both have had some struggles over their last few starts, to perfectly mirror the struggles their teams have experienced. Both team are within a game of .500, though with completely different expectations surrounding their respective ballclubs. If the Indians contend into August, fans would likely be pleased. If the Nationals ONLY contend into August, it’s a catastrophe.
Gio Gonzalez has had the better numbers of the two starting pitchers over the last month, however, his win/loss record, as well as the teams win/loss record doesn’t reflect it. His ERA over his last three starts is just 3.39, however, he is 0-1, and the Nationals are 0-3 in those ballgames. With some of the injuries in the lineup, most notably Bryce Harper, they are going to need a sharp performance from Gio tonight to get a needed road victory.
Masterson has wiggled off the hook once to notch a victory in his last three starts, but his 5.59 ERA and 1.50 WHIP are real danger signs that he might be heading into a slump, or at least regressing back to the norm after an early season of exceeded expectations.
This seems like a pretty even matchup tonight, but I’ll lean Washington’s way with a slight starting pitching advantage, as well as nearly a run per game bullpen ERA edge. Give me Gio against a reeling starter and ballclub in Cleveland as well as plus-money, and it’s a pretty good bargain.
Free Pick: Washington Nationals to WIN +129