The beat rolled on last night as we picked up two more MLB wins to push the early season record to 16-3 and +$1191 for $100 bettors. It’s been a great start, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t anywhere near as impressive as the show Billy Hamilton put on in St. Louis yesterday. Forget the statline. Forget the three hits, the four times on base, the two walks and the two runs scored. If you love baseball and haven’t seen it yet, look online for the replay of him tagging up and scoring on a ball that literally MIGHT have been ruled in infield fly if there had been another runner on base. It is easily the shallowest tag-and-score I have ever seen in major league baseball. Jaw-dropping stuff man. Insanity.
And from one amazing Hamilton feat, to a sadly depressing Hamilton story; the latter of course is Josh Hamilton, who will once again being headed to the DL for extended time after tearing a ligament in his thumb. It’s a sad story for a guy who finally seemed healthy and All-Star caliber once again. Add him to the stable of oft-injured and underperforming stars on the Angels roster, and this might finally be the death knell for Mike Scocia…
Let’s keep the beat rolling today with a pair of picks on a relatively limited Thursday schedule. There aren’t any jump-out-your-seat pitching matchups tonight, but there are a few games I see some good potential value.
Today’s Free Picks:
Houston Astros +190 at Toronto Blue Jays -202 (Total: 8.5)
Dallas Kuechel vs. R.A. Dickey
I’m normally on the side of betting against R.A. Dickey and have been right more often than not the past two seasons. However, tonight, I think he is line for a good outing. The Astros are averaging less than three runs per contest at 2.87. The crafty knuckleballer is just 2-2 lifetime against the Astros, but looking at lifetime stats for Dickey is a little misleading, as for the first decade of his career, he was pretty pedestrian against most teams.
Meanwhile, Dallas Kuechel had a rough season opener against Los Angeles, but has pitched well against the Blue Jays in the past, and had two quality starts against them in 2013 including seven scoreless innings in their last meeting. I think he’ll do just enough to keep the Jays bats under control.
I’m going to bank on a swift game to wrap up this series with the Jays being a little more subdued and the Astros being downright stymied.
Pittsburgh Pirates -128 at Chicago Cubs +120 (Total: 7.5)
Gerrit Cole vs. Travis Wood
This game has all the makings of a getaway day pitcher’s duel. Gerrit Cole has been sizzling lately as he settles well into the ace role. In his last five starts, two of which were against these same Cubs, he is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA. Meanwhile, Travis Wood was 1-1 in three starts against the Pirates last year, but he had a 1.50 ERA and received only a single run of support. You can’t put the mediocre record on the pitcher in that instance.
The Cubs bats have been better the last three games, but this is still a lineup that will struggle often, especially against top line starting pitching. That’s exactly what they face today in Cole.
My favorite play today is the UNDER 7.5, but I can easily see Travis Wood pitching well and once again being stricken with a lack of run support and taking the tough-luck loss. I’m going to double-up on this matinee and take Cole to win the pitcher’s duel.