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Reds vs. Braves MLB Pick – August 18th

There’s nothing guaranteed in baseball, so best to always grab with both hands when an opportunity presents itself. The Yankees four-game sweep over the now 53-66 New York Mets is a great reminder. Just two short years ago, the Mets ripped through the up-and-coming Cubs en route to a World Series appearance. With the most frighteningly talented young pitching staff in all of the baseball, it was easy to envision the Mets as a playoff force for the next five to seven years. Alas, a few injuries (and attitude issues) and here we are.

Could we be looking at a similar situation with the Cubs? After winning their first World Series in more than a decade last season, expectations were absolute; repeat. And repeat. And… And why not? With nearly their entire core in their early or emerging primes, an infield comprised entirely of All Stars and a pitching staff with three recent Cy Young candidates, who would have expected anything less than a strong October run?

But again, here we sit, forty games to go in the season and the Cubs just six games over .500 and one game ahead of Milwaukee and 1.5 ahead of the Cardinals after yesterday’s 13-10 loss to Cincinnati where Jon Lester didn’t make it out of the first inning.

Nothing is guaranteed, which is why teams like Los Angeles were wise to go ALL IN on Yu Darvish in their attempts to finish off their magical season with a trophy. No matter how endless the bright horizon might seem, you just never know when that opportunity is coming again.

Today’s MLB Pick:

Cincinnati Reds +118 at Atlanta Braves -126 (Total: 9.5)
Sal Romano (2-5, 6.05 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (8-7, 3.89 ERA)

Knuckleballer’s statistics can often be misleading. On the occasions when the ball isn’t cooperating, the outing is usually short and disastrous. A couple of three-inning, seven-run fiascos wreak havoc on the ERA. However, despite some mediocre season statistics, Dickey has been excellent over the last few months. He has delivered a quality start in nine of his last ten outings, averaging over six innings per start and allowing one or fewer runs in SEVEN of them – that’s 2012 Cy Young Dickey, not the 42-year old who most perceived to be all but done heading into this season.

Opposing him will be a New Yorker nearly 20 years his junior, Cincinnati Reds rookie, Sal Romano. Romano’s promotion is more one of curiosity and necessity as opposed to “this kid is ready to take on the Bigs!” fervor. Batters are hitting a whopping .302 against him in eight starts, and in his last three outings, things have gotten worse as opposed to better. He has allowed 15 earned runs in 17 innings of work, and predictably the Reds have lost all three games by at least two runs.

It introduces some nice value in the runline tonight, especially when also considering the Reds are 22-40 SU on the road this season. I’ve had a rougher week, so I am playing it close to the vest with this pick, though I suspect I might wind up regretting my caution.

The Braves are an incredible value at just -126 given their whopping advantages.

Today’s MLB Pick:  ATLANTA BRAVES TO WIN -126

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