When things are going good, you get that big double-play ball with two on in a one-run game, or that clutch ninth-inning knock to push ahead the winning (or total-topping) run. When things are going bad, you handicap a game pretty well (the Mariners, despite facing a mediocre pitcher, cannot hit) only to have Felix Hernandez singlehandedly give up the OVER before recording a second OUT. Yup – despite the fact the Astros are hitting just .230 as a team and struggling with the bats (losing seven of their last ten games) Felix had his single worst outing of his entire career on a night I am sitting confidently on the UNDER. The Mariners were blanked and only two more runs scored the rest of the night. But we were done before the home team grabbed their bats. Yuck. It’s been that kind of few weeks for me at the blog – and I am done whining now.
Almost. Seriously Felix?? Seriously?!? Eight earned runs in 0.1 innings pitched???
I’m going to get back to the grind with today’s free pick, but I would warn anyone in attendance at the stadium I select to beware of earthquakes, tidal waves or any other unfortunate force majeure…
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Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates -260 (Total: 7.5)
Sean O’Sullivan vs. Gerrit Cole
This might be the biggest mismatch according to Vegas lines so far this season. The Pirates enter at an insane -265 thanks in large part to an enormous starting pitching discrepancy. Gerrit Cole is making a strong case to be the NL starter in the All Star game with a 9-2 record and a 1.76 ERA and an even more impressive 3-0, 0.86 ERA in his last three starts. The young hurler has been unhittable – and hitting isn’t exactly a strength of the Phillies anyhow.
The Phillies counter with O’Sullivan who has been more “oh crap” in his last three outings, getting hammered around the yard for a 7.27 ERA and allowing 27 hits in 17.2 innings. It should be a good night for the Buccos offense, which has recently went cold, averaging just 1.4 runs in their last five games (oddly, three of them were wins).
It seems hard to see Pittsburgh losing tonight, especially with O’Sullivan opposing Cole. The phillies hit just .229 against righties, and they are facing one of the best young righties in all of baseball tonight pitching in his home park. The Pirates are 13-3 in their last 16 games as the favorite and 8-2 at home. The Phillies are 3-9 in their last twelve meetings with the Pirates.
And again – Gerrit Cole is getting the ball. Look for seven or eight dominant innings and an easy Pirates win. There’s little value in -265 (especially when considering weird stuff happens in baseball – i.e. Felix’s start last night), but I love them on the runline at just -120.