I was looking for a less stressful winner yesterday and we certainly got it. The Chicago Cubs continue to drive the stake through the heart of the St. Louis Cardinals as they extended their division lead to 14 games with a 13-2 demolition of Adam Wainwright and the Cards. We had Jake Arrieta on the runline at slight plus-money and it looks like a return to the early season mantra of “Jake to the ATM” is back en vogue.
And in other news – and I know the AL isn’t my beat – but farewell to Alex Rodriguez, who played his (possibly?) final game last night in the Bronx. It was an awkward end to an awkward career, blended with greatness and stain, numbers nearly unparalleled in the history of the game and the questionable context in which they must be interpreted nearly as unprecedented. Love him or hate him, one of the most recognizable stars in baseball history took a curtain call last night and leaves an interesting void behind.
Let’s grab a third straight winner this evening!
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Today’s Free Pick:
Baltimore Orioles +155 at San Francisco Giants -165 (Total: 7)
Kevin Gausman (3-9, 4.02 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (10-7, 2.20 ERA)
Madison Bumgarner enters with a pedestrian 10-7 record and the Giants have LOST eight of the last ten games he has started. So is today a nice chance to fade a big name on a big plus-money line?
Not so fast… yes, the Giants have struggled in MadBum’s starts, but let’s call it coincidence (and an odd one at that) more than causal. One of the best pitchers in baseball has delivered seven quality starts in that time including five starts with one or zero runs allowed. He has only allowed four runs twice and never more. The point is, they COULD have won nearly every one of his starts and the fact they keep losing is more oddity than expected. Obviously, run support has been a big issue. But it isn’t like the Giants are a pitiful offense in general. They are middle of the pack in runs scored, fourth in batting average and middle of the pack in total bases. They just haven’t delivered when Bumgarner has been on the hill.
They should be able to rectify that this afternoon against Kevin Gausman and the Orioles. Gausman has been pretty good lately, delivering six quality starts in ten outings, but he is rarely as dominant as Bumgarner and likely won’t be today. I expect the Giants to notch two or three runs off him, and for MadBum to completely shut the door. The safer play today is the Giants to win at home where they are 32-22 this season as opposed to Baltimore’s 26-33 road mark, but I am going to get greedy and look for a third straight winner with a little extra juice and go +145 on the runline.
Bumgarner’s 2.20 ERA and 1.00 WHIP deserve a TON better than he has gotten this season. I’ll look for a little regression to the expected mean today and a big Giants winner. And one last small thing that could be the BIG difference today; this game is in an NL Park, which means AL pitchers get in the box to flail hopelessly while the Giants send a legit masher in Bumgarner. Don’t be surprised if he helps his own cause by fanning Gausman twice and notching a hit of his own in contrast.