Cincinnati Reds-129 at Miami Marlins +122
Bronson Arroyo vs. Jacob Turner
It is going to be a wild race the final three week for the second National League wildcard berth. The Philadelphia Phillies, left for dead by most just two months ago, have pulled to within three and a half games of the Cardinals despite last night’s horrendous loss to the Houston Astros. How much had people given up on the Phillies?? So much so that their own front office thought it was far enough gone to begin dismantling the four-time reigning NL East champions, jettisoning off Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence for prospects at the July trade deadline.
Ironically, the biggest obstacle for the Phillies might not be overcoming roster deficits; rather it will be dealing with the handful of other teams bottlenecked for the final NL playoff slot. Atlanta appears to be relatively safe; St. Louis, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and similarly-surging Milwaukee are all separated by three games of less with scantly three weeks of baseball left to play. It’s going to be one hell of a race!
One team that need not concern themselves with all the playoff consternation is the Cincinnati Reds. With a 10 ½ game lead, they own the biggest lead of any division leader and could clinch as early as late next week. Instead, their prime focus is on getting healthy; making sure Joey Votto and Zack Cozart are 100%, and giving Aroldis Chapman a nice week respite to get his arm right (his fastball topped out at 94 mph in a nine-pitch, nine-ball outing earlier in the week).
Despite the lack of pressure and nagging injuries, the Reds keep on winning. They are fresh off a three game sweep of the Pirates, and have won four of five overall. Bronson Arroyo, very quietly, has been one of the best #3 starters in all of baseball. His 3.66 ERA and 1.19 WHIP are both excellent, and his 12-7 (18-10 team overall when he starts) are more than anyone could ask for out of a junk-balling 37 year old with an 88 mph fastball (on a good day).
Say what you want about Arroyo, but he wins nearly two out of every three times (or at least his team does) he takes the mound. That makes tonight’s -130 a pretty slim line and a decent value play.
The Marlins will send rookie Jacob Turner. He has good stuff, but his 5.92 ERA and 0-2 record are an indication he is here more because the Marlins have nothing better, as opposed to truly being ready to step in as a big-time major league hurler.
I like the Reds tonight, and expect them to win easily. I like the -1.5 runline as well, but my official play tonight is the straight up win at -129.
Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds to WIN -129