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Pirates vs. Dodgers Pick MLB – Sept 19th

Make it five straight winners as the Detroit Tigers took advantage of extra frames to sneak a 5-4 win over Kansas City. I felt pretty good that we were cashing in when the Tigers took a 3-1 lead into the ninth inning. I felt pretty sure we were taking a tough-luck loss when the Royals scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th. But KC control issues in the pen reared their head in the bottom of the 12th (including walking in the tying run) and the Tigers scored two in the bottom of the inning to steal back the victory.

The encouraging news for the Royals, despite the loss, was the solid outing from Cueto. It wasn’t vintage, dominant Cueto – but it was closer to his normal excellence. I don’t think KC can win a World Series without Cueto being a frontline starter, and I suspect they have the same concerns. Last night, despite the loss, was actually an important step in a good direction.

Let’s see if we can keep our good direction intact by notching a sixth straight winning pick.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Pittsburgh Pirates +180 at Los Angeles Dodgers -190 (Total: 6)

Francisco Liriano vs. Clayton Kershaw

I’ve written a lot about the Pirates insane home field advantage this season. However, in recent weeks, the Dodgers have surpassed their also-ridiculous record and enter tonight a stunning 50-22 at Chavez Ravine. They simply do not lose often at home. They also don’t lose a lot with Kershaw on the bump.

The Pirates suffered a devastating injury this week, losing rookie phenom Kung for the season. Ironically, his brilliance was discovered when they lost Jordy Mercer to a “devastating” injury as people wondered how they’d fare with the veteran shortstop on the DL. Well, at least Jordy is back to reclaim the shortstop position – but only after it has been sadly proven how significant of a downgrade Mercer is, especially at the plate.

That said, the Pirates will still make the playoffs, and a Cole/Arietta matchup in a one-game take all would be one helluva good watch.

But in the here and now, I think they have real trouble tonight. Liriano has been very good, but Kershaw has been near flawless. He had a rough first few months of the season…and hi WHIP is STILL 0.86. Since the All Star Break he has been flat-out unhittable. He is 9-0 with a 0.98 ERA since June 27th. Simply ridiculous stuff. And to think he is not better than THIRD in Cy Young balloting this year – trailing his own teammate nonetheless, and the bounty of pitching riches for LA is pretty crazy.

Expect Kershaw to dominate tonight. I don’t think he’ll allow a single run. And I think his mates will get him a few to spare. The regular line is a little steep of a price for me to see much value, but getting Kershaw and the Dodgers at plus-money on the runline works.

Free Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (+115)