Well, it was bound to end sooner or later, and if an 11 game winning streak that had some underdog winners in it as well, it might as well end with Hanley and Matt Kemp each going yard twice in the same game. It’s tough to keep a total UNDER 6.5 with four home runs combined from a pair of MVP-when-healthy-candidates (and yes, it is important to keep that in the description with those two, especially Kemp), and of course, we narrowly missed in the Dodgers 6-2 win over the Giants.
We will try to get it back on track tonight with a new slate of series to take a look inside. SO let’s take a look at an early season pitching gem remix, and a pair of lower-payroll hopefuls in the American League.
Today’s Free Picks:
Cincinnati Reds +133 at St. Louis Cardinals -141 (Total: 6.5)
Tony Cingrani vs. Michael Wacha
These two young hurlers combined for 13+ shutout innings last week in Cincinnati, a game the Reds ended up winning 2-1 on a walkoff hit in the 9th. They will link up once again, this time in the afternoon in St. Louis for the Cardinals highly-anticipated home opener. It might be asking a bit much to ask these two to repeat last week’s dominating performance the second time a lineup has seen them in a short time period, but it is hard to bank on either of them getting lit up either.
I gave you the stat last week, and nothing’s changed; the Cardinals, for all their ballyhooed offensive accomplishments, hit just .237 (27th in MLB) against left-handed pitching. Tony Cingrani has never allowed more than five hits in a start in his CAREER (19 starts, an MLB record) which qualifies him as an above-average southpaw.
The Reds aren’t hitting a lick either. They’ve scored just 15 runs in 6 games (2.5 per) and only once have scored more than three runs, a 7-6 loss to the Cardinals which both teams threw #3 starters after a four-hour rain delay.
I don’t see a lot of runs crossing the plate this afternoon with the twilight shadows in St. Louie.
Tampa Bay Rays -111 at Kansas City Royals +101 (Total: 8)
Matt Moore vs. Justin Vargas
In Tampa Bay’s four wins they have scored 29 runs (7.25 per). In their three losses, they have scored 2 runs and been shut out twice (0.67 per). So it’s all or nothing tonight for Jason Vargas.
The lefty looked sharp in his first start in Kansas City, going seven innings allowing just one run and five hits. He has been good against Tampa Bay historically; aside from his last outing in which he allowed five runs and ten hits, his lifetime line against the Rays is 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA. I think he’ll have a nice outing tonight and frustrate the mercurial Rays bats.
Meanwhile, Matt Moore looked strong in his first start and pitched well enough to win according to Joe Maddon, giving up two runs in just shy of six innings. The Royals roughed him up once last year, but I’ll take the pitchers over the hitters early on, and chalk that game up to just a bad outing. Matt Moore has fantastic stuff and the Royals are hitting .190 against lefties so far this young season.
I like this battle of southpaws to be a low scoring affair. I thought this one would be 7.5 on the runline, but I am very thankful to have the extra run cushion that 8 provides.