Phillies vs. Reds Pick MLB – April 6th

We notched a narrow winner last night thanks to Brandon Crawford’s home run and Johnny Cueto’s excellent debut for the Giants as they escaped with a 2-1 win in Miller Park over the Brewers.  We will see if we can duplicate the result tonight in another NL winner.

Meanwhile, things haven’t gotten off to a real good start in San Diego.  The Padres showed up at their home ballpark, fresh off the worst opening day shutout loss in MLB history, and were again shut out, this time by the more respectable margin of 3-0.  For Padres fans wh came into the season concerned about their offense in a talented National League West laden with good pitching, failing to score a run in their first 18 innings will do little to calm the panic.

The Cubbies hysteria that intensified all off season after their earlier-than-expected playoff run in 2015 and the signings of Ben Zobrist and Jason Hayward in the winter aren’t dying down anytime soon.  The North Siders are off to a fast start, beating the Angels twice by a combined score of 15-1.  It’s early, but it is a good sign for a team of whom so much is hoped and expected in 2016.

Let’s see if we can notch a second straight winner tonight.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds (Total: 8)

Aaron Nola vs. Brandon Finnegan

This could very well be a dazzling pitching matchup in a few years, but for the here and now, I’ll favor the offenses.  Nola was the celebrated first pick in the draft and has a ton of talent.  He had a decent showing as a rookie, posting a 6-2 record with a 3.59 ERA (more impressive considering the Phillies were the worst team in baseball).  He will have his hands full tonight pitching in very hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park against a solid veteran Reds lineup.

Meanwhile, Brandon Finnegan gained some fame for his clutch relief appearances for the Royals in the 2014 postseason, but could very well be a little nervous and have a quick hook from manager Bryan Price after a Spring where he posted a 10.05 ERA.  The fact that he gets the ball in Game Two for the Reds tells you all you need to know about the current health of their starting pitching.

The run total feels a little low given the youth of the two starters and the weakness of each respective bullpen.  The opener was cruising to a low number until the Phillies pen surrendered five runs late.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same today.  I doubt each starter goes particularly deep tonight, given the cold weather, earliness of the season and their very young ages.  That puts at least three or four innings on the bullpens and lots of sketchy middle relief.

I’ll take the OVER 8 in tonight’s ESPN2 matchup.

Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 8

Chris Scheeren / Author