What in the world is going on this week? Specifically, in the last 48 hours. The “Year of the Pitcher” has taken a decisive twist the last two days and it hasn’t been subtle. First we had the odd anomaly of BOTH Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto getting rocked on Sunday. The last night, more of the same for Noah Syndergaard and Jake Arrieta. In fact, Kershaw was the BEST of the bunch but ‘only’ allowing four runs in six innings. For the other three it was far worse. So is this just an odd blip on the radar or a sign that as the weather is heating up and some possible arm fatigue is setting in before the break that our hitters are finally going to get some revenge and reclaim the sport?
In the meantime, we got an easy big money winner last night as the heavy underdog Phillies cruised behind the return of Vince Velasquez to an 8-0 victory of the home-challenged Diamondbacks. It certainly doesn’t ease the Phillies sting of the last three weeks which took them from contenders to “they could still lose 100” status in the blink of an eye, but it does at least show some promise that when healthy, this team is getting better and could have the cornerstone of a solid rotation for years to come with Velasquez and Nola.
Let’s see if we can build off yesterday’s nice underdog payday and start a big week.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Philadelphia Phillies +190 at Arizona Diamondbacks -200 (Total: 8)
Jerad Eickhoff (5-9, 3.36 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (10-3, 3.61 ERA)
For a guy who has caught so much heat about his subpar performance this season, Zack Greinke’s stat line isn’t too terrible. The 3.61 ERA is a little steep, but 10-3 record, a 1.15 WHIP and nearly a 4.5:1 strikeout to walk ratio isn’t bad at all. In fact, in his last seven starts all of them have been quality starts except his last, which came one out short in Coors Field. He has allowed just six runs in his last six starts and gets to face a moderate hitting team tonight in his home ballpark (not that HOME has helped Arizona this season).
His opponent probably deserves better than nine losses before the All Star break with a heavily weighted line that indicates a tenth is due tonight. But his ERA is actually a quarter run better than Greinke, so this isn’t the enormous massive no-brainer mismatch that Vegas implies.
However, I am not betting against Greinke tonight and getting too greedy at the Phillies underdog well. I am, however, going to bet on both starters having quality outings and keeping the overall run total in check. Eickhoff has a 2.01 ERA over 31 innings in June and has a quality start in nine of his last ten outings. He’s been way better than his W/L record indicates, and I expect him to hold his own against a former Cy Young winner who appears to be settling into a groove.