There wasn’t much drama in last night’s Kansas City/Minnesota contest. The Twins piled up plenty of runs and were easy underdog winners. Unfortunately, my streak of underdog winners was snapped as I was on the wrong side of the result. We will try to start a nice new winning run today.
One place there WILL be drama is tonight in Queens. Forget the US Open happening next door, many local sports fans (and even some in the tennis crowd) will have one eye on Washington DC and the New York Mets attempt to take the second straight to open the series – and all but put this division to bed. Even beyond the drama of the Mets trying to win the pennant is the drama of Matt Harvey taking the mound. Much has been made (here too) about his agent/doctor/self-imposed 180 innings pitched limit. He enters tonight just 14 innings from that line in the sand. Assuming he spends another six or seven tonight, it will be fascinating to see how they manage him to still (hopefully) have him available for the postseason.
No matter what, it is the must-see game highlighting a good evening of baseball.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Pittsburgh Pirates -119 at Cincinnati Reds +110 (Total: 7.5)
Francisco Liriano (9-7, 3.40 ERA) vs. Raisel Iglesias (3-6, 3.81 ERA)
T’s been a brutal season for the Cincinnati Reds. They were in the postseason three of the last five years but with an aging core and terrible results they jettisoned their entire starting pitching rotation and have been throwing five rookies for the past month and a half. Todd Frazier hit a massive second-half swoon leaving the Reds and their beleaguered bullpen to be trying to beat major league teams with Joey Votto getting on base more often than he makes outs.
It hasn’t worked too well. They’ve been the worst team in baseball since the trade deadline.
However, they have played inexplicably well against Pittsburgh, taking five of the last seven. Tonight they get another crack at a good pitcher, but one who has historically struggled at Great American Ballpark, Francisco Liriano. Liriano has never won in GABP, and it isn’t for a lack of opportunities. He is 0-4 with a 4.86 ERA in six career starts. He has a winning record and an ERA under three in all road starts NOT in GABP.
Meanwhile, the Reds counter with the one piece of pitching gold they seem to have panned from this massive roster dump experiment. The Cuban import has fanned ten or more in each of his last four starts and looks to be a solid #2 starter in the Reds rotation next season. He has a 1.93 ERA in his last four starts, though he has yet to collect a win. I think that’ll change tonight. History tells us the Reds will touch up Liriano for a few early runs, and I like Iglesias to continue to get better and better as he acclimates to the major leagues.