Every story I saw “break” yesterday seemed to be getting on Bryce Harper and his being pulled from the game for not hustling on a ground-out. But I’d challenge you to consider how MOST young superstars would react to being pulled in the middle of the game… would be even a fraction as classy as how Harper handled the situation?
The more I handicap and cover sports, the less of a “fan” I become and the more pragmatic and coldy objective I tend to lean. But in this instance, I find myself clapping for Harper and hoping he puts on a show today in the finale against St. Louis. He immediately took the blame for the situation, said he “respected what Williams did”, and that he needs to do better.
I expect he will play with even more fire today than his usual insanely-intense effort. I’ll be keeping an eye on that game today for sure.
But for today’s free pick, let’s head to the late game for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. We went an easy 2-0 yesterday with a pair of run total OVERS nearly doubling the runline, so let’s see if we can keep it rolling tonight and finish up another big winning week.
Today’s Free Pick:
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox (Total: 7.5)
Ubaldo Jimenez (0-3, 7.31 ERA) vs. Jake Peavy (0-0, 1.93 ERA)
Jake Peavy has been good in his three appearances this season, despite having yet to factor in a decision. The Sox are just 1-2 in his starts, but it is more a function of limited run support than poor pitching.
For the Orioles, Jimenez has been an unmitigated disaster. His 0-3 already, and has earned the losses. His 7.31 ERA and immense 2.06 WHIP is more than cause for concern, its reason to outright panic. If he doesn’t turn it around quickly, it is nearly impossible to see the Orioles contending in this difficult division; especially now that the Yankees appear to have shored up their spotty rotation.
A trip to Fenway Park might not be the best recipe to get back on track. Jimenez is 1-3 lifetime with a 10.36 ERA against Boston. Dustin Pedroia has done the most damage, going 7 for 13 against him and he is 24 of 45 overall in his last ten games against the Orioles. Look for he and the Boston offense to have a big night tonight. They are a good play at -155, but I’m going to double up on Boston with my first runline pick of the season. I see this as a 6-2, 7-3 kind of win, so might as well grab a little extra value at +135.