The stretch run to the MLB season is at the three-week mark today, and while the playoff participants seem pretty well established in the National League just a few weeks ago, a Milwaukee sweep of the Champs coupled with some activity in St. Louis and this race cooking once again. Both Central contenders sit just two games back of the defending World Series champs. Milwaukee begins a series tonight at home against the scuffling Pirates while St. Louis has a day off before hosting the last-place Reds. Chicago has a much needed day off before the arrival of the Mets, now a series in which they can ill-afford any more bobbles…
The Colorado Rockies season-long grip on a playoff spot is holding firm thanks to their four game winning streak with their lead over Milwaukee and St. Louis maintains a three game edge. Colorado begins a pivotal series tonight in the desert against division rival Arizona.
Big games and big series abound! Let’s focus on a particularly big one beginning tonight.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers (Total: 9)
Steven Brault (0-0, 5.79 ERA) vs. Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.52 ERA)
The Pirates skid into town on a five game losing streak and feeling like a team that has packed it up for the 2017 campaign. However, it is BASEBALL, so opposing massive winning and losing streaks don’t always play into fruition. Before we write off Pittsburgh, the fact that they are looking at some of the young kids isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Steven Brault was their pitcher of the year at AAA Indianapolis after going 10-5 with a 1.94 ERA. His first two starts were not overwhelming, but he has good stuff and some of the rookie jitters should be under control tonight.
Opposing Brault is another young pitcher with promise, Brandon Woodruff. He has been great in his first four starts, allowing just one home run in four starts, and in his last outing, he out-dueled Max Scherzer, reigning and possibly current Cy Young winner – striking out eight in a hard-fought no decision. This kid has game and moxie, and I expect him to handle a scuffling Pirates lineup tonight at home.
Nine is a pretty lofty total tonight for two talented young arms getting a real shot in the Bigs. I like a low scoring affair tonight where both pitchers fare well. The bullpen of Pittsburgh could very well be an issue, but I’m not ready to go Milwaukee runline. I’d rather take the UNDER – there’s better value in that number if it remains all the way up at nine. Pittsburgh has stayed under in seven of their last eight road games and it has remained under in seven of the last eight head-to-head meetings between these two teams.
Today’s MLB Pick: RUN TOTAL UNDER 9 (-115)