Yesterday was a rough day, with the Marlins failing to scratch a single run and made for a relatively uninteresting long shot wager. Today should have a ton of excitement however, with several of the best pitching matchups you will see all season in a full matinee slate of Sunday games. We will try to snap a two-game post All-Star skid and get back on track with a pair of winners this afternoon.
Today’s Free Picks:
Philadelphia Phillies +104 at New York Mets -113 (Total: 6.5)
Cliff Lee (10-3, 2.86 ERA) vs. Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.35 ERA)
Both Cliff Lee and Matt Harvey are fresh off All-Star appearances, but both should be plenty rested for today’s marquee matchup. Despite having two of the lowest ERA’s in baseball and sparkling winning records, both of their teams have subpar 11-8 records in games they have started. That, my friends, is called bullpen and offensive issues. There is no way you should have eight losses in nineteen games when your starting pitcher is giving you an average of seven innings per start and allowing scantly more (or in Harvey’s case, LESS) than a baserunner per inning.
It’s easy to say today should be a low scoring affair, given the dominant potential of each starting pitcher. However, both offenses enter today relatively hot. The Phillies and Mets have combined for 30 runs in the first two games of this series. Factoring in that both teams sport a bullpen ERA over 4.00, it is entirely likely that a few more sparkling efforts for Lee and Harvey go unrewarded when the bullpens bring their gas cans to the mound in the late innings.
I’m going to bank on one team breaking through for a few early runs (both Lee and Harvey have ERA’s over 4.00 in their last three starts), and the bullpens to push the total OVER late. I’m taking the OVER and liking that I can get plus-money in most books to do so.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 6.5 (+113)
New York Yankees +125 at Boston Red Sox -134 (Total: 9)
C.C. Sabathia (9-8, 4.09 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.28 ERA)
The rubber match of tonight’s series on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball may not have the zip of the Yanks/Sox rivalry of five to ten years ago, but it is still a good matchup between playoff hopefuls in the uber-competitive AL East. And tonight will have the benefit of Sweet Carolina being played in it’s more natural environment… watching Neil Diamond sing live to what can at BEST be described as a completely uninterested crowd at the All-Star Game in New York was hilarious. The dudes on the old CBS live colonoscopy commercials looked more comfortable!!
Alas, the Yankees have their long-time ace C.C. Sabathia on the hill while the Red Sox oppose him with the clinical definition of “buying high at the trade deadline” in Ryan Dempster, who’s time in the American League has been pretty poor. Both have ERA’s north of four, though C.C. has been a little better in his last three outings, giving a solid 20.1 innings and notching two straight quality starts prior to a rough outing just before the All-Star break.
Five of these two teams last six matchups have been under 7.5 runs. Yes, both CC and Dempster have struggled at times, but the run total of nine gives a little breathing room. Both teams hit significantly worse against left-handed pitching, the Yankees 15 points lower, the Sox a full 30 points worse.
I’m not sure there will be much comfortable breathing room tonight, but I’ll take the UNDER 9.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 9