Our three game winning streak was snapped by a few late runs by the Reds in an otherwise already-settled boring game. Cody Reed reverted back to “bad start” Cody, allowing six runs before he recorded an out in the second inning and leaving the Reds pretty much in the lurch. Of course, my admonition about Joey Votto proved sadly true, as he drove in all three Reds runs in the final three innings and eclipsed the run total by half a run.
Alas, it was still a nice weekend with a big +145 winner that day before, so let’s see if we can start off the new week in a similar winning fashion.
In other news, the Cubs finished off a winning series against St. Louis yesterday with their third big win of the series against just one loss and wrapped up the weekend with a 14-game lead in the NL Central. It isn’t often we are talking “magic numbers” two weeks prior to Labor Day, but that is where things currently sit in the Windy City. It leaves Maddon with an interesting, and somewhat unprecedented in Chicago, challenge; how to balance staying sharp and hungry with remaining fresh, rested and healthy heading into the Postseason. But as Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane would opine in MoneyBall, “uptown problems”…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Pittsburgh Pirates +132 at San Francisco Giants -142 (Total: 7.5)
Ryan Vogelsong (1-2, 2.67 ERA) vs. Matt Moore (7-8, 3.99 ERA)
This is a really interesting matchup, and it felt REALLY weird to type “Ryan Vogelsong” for the team OTHER than the Giants. The 39-year old veteran makes an appearance against the mates he helped steer to two World Series championships in 2012 and 2014 by posting a 3-0 record in the Fall Classic. Tonight, he will face some old friends like Posey and Pence in the start to a series that is DIRE to the reeling Pirates.
Opposing him will be another familiar face in a new destination; Matt Moore. The long-time Ray will try to earn his first win as the new hurler acquired to fill a vital third starter (or fourth? He and Samardzijia will have to battle…) despite allowing just four runs in twelve innings in two non-decisions. I expect him to be big tonight. First, the transition to the NL from the AL is usually a favorable one for pitchers. Secondly, he hasn’t failed to notch a quality start in nearly two months, dating back to June 24th. He has excellent stuff, a new home, batters who haven’t seen him, and a really good defensive squad backing him up. Add in the fact the Pirates rank near the bottom of the league in road runs scored and batting, and it is a favorable matchup for the G-Men.
Vogelsong is a competitor, and it wouldn’t be the first time the Giants have seen him exceed expectations in an emotional situation. It would, however, be the first time they’ve seen it from the other dugout. Call tonight an emotional/intuition play. I think he pitches well and tonight remains a low-scoring affair. I like quality starts from both starting pitchers and two solid bullpens to hold the rope to keep the total under the 7.5 threshold.