It’s getaway day in MLB, but fortunately for the Pirates and Tigers their game is still an evening one. It’s fortunate because last night’s contest lasted a whopping 14 innings and went until well after midnight. We finally cashed in our eighth win in eleven picks thank to Neil Walker’s heroics. I thought we had this one in the bag early with Gerrit Cole cruising, but two Tiger runs off the bullpen in the 8th extended the game, and nearly blew it again in the 14th with Gorkys Hernandez’s spectacular baserunning blunder.
All’s well that ends well. And I’ll gladly take the W, even if it took about three hours longer than expected. Let’s see if we can keep our nice summer resurgence moving forward with another winner tonight.
Last night featured a bunch of dynamite pitching matchups, and stars like Gerrit Cole, Dallas Kuechel and Chris Sale didn’t disappoint. Tonight features four games with BOTH starters entering with ERA’s over four, so perhaps the bats will reign league-wide today. However, our free pick once again heads to the mound with a focus on zeros going up on the scoreboard.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers (Total: 8)
A.J. Burnett vs. Alfredo Simon
Last night’s game lasted forever, but tonight’s could be much more expedient. Two excellent starters get the ball in a matchup that has yielded just 21 runs in four games between these two teams in 2015. The Pirates have scored three or less runs in six of their last ten games including four games with a single run or fewer. But Alfredo Simon has struggled in his last few outings, posting a 7.73 ERA over his last three starts despite still entering tonight with a season ERA under 3.
So what gives tonight?
I’ll bank on Simon having a bounce-back effort against a scuffling Pirate offense tonight at home. Adding a little more comfort to my under confidence tonight is the fact that AJ Burnett is on the opposing hill. Even if Simon scuffles once again, there is a little wiggle room if Burnett can keep up his recent dominance. He enters tonight with an ERA of just 2.01 for the season, and while everyone keeps waiting for the 38 year old to fall off, he has been even BETTER in his last three outings, posting a 1.66 ERA over 21.2 innings. He will have his work cut out for him against a Tiger squad that has scored 50 runs over their last eight contests.
However, I’ll always lean pitching over hitting, especially after a marathon six-plus hour game the night before. Look for Burnett to stay sharp and Simon to bounce back with a quality game tonight.