EDIT FROM KEVIN: Last night was a losing night for Chris as he picked the Phillies. He had seen the score being 3-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth and thought the Phillies went on to win, which is what this write up stated when first posted. Tough loss, but lets have a good night.
But first, a big congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on their miracle finish and winning their second Stanley Cup in four years. I’m not a huge hockey guy – much more basketball and baseball – but being in Chicago last night and today for business, let me tell you, this city is going BANANAS. What a really fun night to be in the Loop in the Windy City…
On to today’s free pick.
Cincinnati Reds +125 at Oakland A’s -134 (Total: 7.5)
Bronson Arroyo (6-5, 3.13 ERA) vs. Tom Milone (6-7, 3.98 ERA)
The Reds have cooled off from their torrid pace a bit, going just 5-5 over their last ten games including a losing series this weekend in Arizona. Meanwhile, the Oakland A’s have proven last season was no fluke, racing out to a lead in the American League West ahead of more celebrated rivals, Texas and Anahiem (yeah, yeah, the “Los Angeles” Angels). However, their recent cooling has been even more dramatic. They have lost seven of their last ten, all division games, including a losing series against Texas three games to one.
They will look to get on track tonight and are a pretty solid favorite… but I’m not exactly sure why. Tom Milone has been average at best this season, posting an ERA around four and turning in a losing record. He will oppose Bronson Arroyo, who despite his reputation as more of a junkballer continues to be one of the most reliable pitchers in the National League. His ERA is right around three, and his last three starts have been even better, posting a 2.18 ERA despite not earning any decisions in that span.
I like the Reds to come out swinging the bats a little bit better tonight, though spacious Oakland will limit their power attack. As much as that might hamper the Reds, it favors Arroyo even more. When he keeps the ball in the ballpark, he delivers a ton of solid innings. I expect him to go seven strong tonight and hold Oakland under two or three runs. That should be enough to help his team get the “upset” win tonight.
This is a pretty even matchup, as both teams offensive statistics are almost identical down the line. However, the slight pitching edge goes to Arroyo, making the +125 line very attractive.
Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds to WIN +125