We notched a fourth straight MLB winner with the Nats and Cubs staying easily under the 6.5 run threshold for a comfortable UNDER winner. Pitching dominated the day and Max Scherzer, as predicted, notched a double-digit strikeout day with the whiff-prone Cubs fanning 13 times against him in seven shutout innings. Good pitching usually beats good hitting, especially when it is young good hitting without tremendous plate discipline. All in all, the Cubs Nats was a fantastic, exciting and star-studded series, which is about as much as you can ask for in late May baseball.
Speaking of ‘all you can ask for’ life is GREAT for Minnesota Twins fans right now. This was a team that everyone picked to finish last in the AL Central, and after yesterday’s 6-4 win over Boston they have won five straight games, eight of their last ten and own the second-best record in the American League at 28-18. I’m not saying they can hold off the Royals and Tigers all season, but with a talented young roster and a loaded farm system to make a move in August if needed, it isn’t unreasonable to see this team contending all season long. The AL Central, long a punchline, is easily the best division in baseball right now…
It’s a light schedule in MLB with most games on the West Coast and late. Let’s see if we can pluck a fifth straight winner out of the slate.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Pittsburgh Pirates -122 at San Diego Padres +112 (Total: 6.5)
A.J. Burnett (4-1, 1.37 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (1-4, 6.11 ERA)
I wasn’t sure how much the veteran Burnett would have left in the tank and if his return to Pittsburgh would make much of a difference. So far, my skepticism has been way off base. Burnett has returned to once again anchor a talented pitching staff and his 1.37 ERA is simply amazing stuff. He deserves to be considered to start the All-Star Game for the National League right now with more celebrated names like Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke. He’s been that good.
Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy has been that BAD. His ERA is over 6.00, and considering he pitches in Petco Park, a long celebrated safe-haven for hurlers, it is especially troublesome. He is 0-3 in his last three starts with a WHIP over a run and a half and an ERA over seven. He faces a Pirates team tonight that has won six straight and has scored at least four runs in every game (averaging close to six).
This seems like a mismatch to me, and a ridiculously low price to pay for the Pirates. It’s baseball, so anything can happen. The good teams lose seventy times a year. But at just -122 with a starting pitcher differential of nearly five runs on ERA and as hot as the Pirate bats are? It’s just too favorable a line to pass up. I’m doubling up tonight. I LOVE the Buccos at just -122 and I’m going to stake a more aggressive play on the -1.5 runline at a fat +150.