We notched a healthy plus-money winner last night with the Cincinnati Reds going into AT&T Park and knocking off the heavily favored. How we GOT to that point, however, was a little different than expected. Anthony DeSclafani moved his record to a perfect 6-0, no small feat when considering the small number of starts on a last place team with a miserable bullpen, but he was far from his best last night. He allowed five runs in five innings, but fortunately Jake Peavy was worse (which was the reason for the underdog play in the first place). And Reds brass had to enjoy the pair of Jay Bruce homeruns as the 29-year old multiple time All Star continues one of the finest seasons of his career as we approach the trade deadline…
Speaking of trades, the Cubs gave up a TON to get Aroldis Chapman, but it is hard to not view the Northsiders as the prohibitive favorite to go to the World Series and possibly end their 100-plus year drought… The Nats and Giants will still have plenty to say about it, but the pressure is now squarely on the Cubbies to do BIG things NOW.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Tampa Bay Rays +128 at Los Angeles Dodgers -138 (Total: 7.5)
Chris Archer (5-13, 4.60 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (5-9, 4.56 ERA)
The Rays have lost eight of their last ten games in which ‘ace’ Chris Archer has started and the 2015 All Star takes the mound tonight with a staggering 13 losses attributed to his own record. His ERA is in the high-fours, opponent batting average is .252 and his WHIP is 1.39. It’s been a nightmare of a season for Archer and the Rays.
Things haven’t been any better for Norris statistically, though he doesn’t have to bear the weight of crushing team failure and a staggering drop from personal expectations of his performance. The Dodgers would like Norris to be better after acquiring him from Atlanta, but he isn’t a ‘cornerstone of the team’ young hurler. He is a three/four starter who would possibly but not definitely make the postseason roster (please come back soon Kershaw!).
Alas, two struggling hurlers meet tonight in a game with a surprisingly low run total of 7.5, given their relative struggles. I think both will be competent tonight facing less-than-dominant offenses, but I think they will still each surrender some runs. Archer has allowed at least three in eight of ten starts. Norris has allowed 13 runs in his last three starts, spanning just 15 innings. It hasn’t been a smooth onboarding with his new employer and there is a lot of pressure on him to be better tonight.
Look for some runs to cross the plate tonight and to get over the relatively conservative total of 7.5.