I know I use the line that “momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher” often, but yesterday’s Nationals v Mets doubleheader was about as good an example of that very true principle as you’ll ever see. The Mets jumped all over Jordan Zimmerman (starting to regress a bit to the norm perhaps after his Cy-Young caliber start??) and beat the Nats down to the tune of 11-0. Just a few hours later, they beat the Mets 2-1 (And Matt Harvey AGAIN earns a no-decision despite going eight innings, allowing NO runs and striking out seven batters. This kind of pathetic support is what leads someone to take a picture for ESPN naked cupping their junk…)
It was the same new-pitcher, new-momentum story for the Cincinnati Reds last night. They went into Los Angeles after compiling more doubles and runs in a four-game series than ANY visiting team in the history of AT&T Park. They lit up the Dodgers for five more runs Friday night. Last night? Hello Clayton Kershaw. Goodbye hot streak.
So are there any teams whose recent fates are about to turn abruptly this evening? Let’s dig into an intriguing pitching matchup for tonight’s free pick.
Texas Rangers -110 at Cleveland Indians +105 (Total: 7.5)
Yu Darvish (9-4, 2.86 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (11-7, 3.60 ERA)
Despite the potent offenses at play tonight, this game has the makings of a low scoring one, especially given the recent performance of Yu Darvish. Darvish has been fantastic all season, but has been even sharper in his last three outings, allowing just a 2.36 ERA. Masterson has been a little less sharp, posting a 1-1 with an ERA in the mid-fours over his last three outings, but his 1.15 WHIP indicates that he hasn’t been too far off, he’s simply made a few mistakes at inopportune moments.
Another factor working in the pitchers (and the UNDER) favor tonight is the propensity for both teams to strikeout. Both Darvish and Masterson are strike-out pitchers, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see total strikeout totals for the game in the mid to high teens or above.
Both teams lit it up to the tune of 19 runs last night (an 11-8 Indians win), but in sticking with the theme of today’s column – the momentum is likely to change dramatically tonight with to new stars on the mound. I like a low scoring contest. I’d lean Rangers, simply because of the value anytime you can get Yu Darvish at near even-money, but my official play tonight is the run total staying UNDER the 7.5 total.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 7.5