We notched our second straight winner to cap the week off in winning fashion thanks to the Cincinnati Reds and Brandon Finnegan. The Reds cashed an upset winner at +120 to make the day even sweeter. It pulls us to 15-8 ATS in September and keeps the nice momentum rolling as the postseason looms just a week away.
The Mets made an emphatic statement yesterday with a bonkers 17-0 win against the Phillies, but unfortunately the runs can’t carry over into the series with the Marlins. It will be an emotional affair tonight in Miami as the Marlins play their first game since the tragic death of Jose Fernandez. I don’t even really want to write about the game and its implications because words will likely come off as dramatically insufficient to describe the sadness of the sudden loss of one of the brightest young starts in the game. It makes the game tonight seem so much less important, even with the Mets clinging to a one game wildcard lead. Again, no pick on that game tonight, but I will simply wrap up the topic with a sincere wish for comfort for all the Marlins family on what will be a very emotional night.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cincinnati Reds +183 at St. Louis Cardinals -191 (Total: 8.5)
Tim Adelman (2-4, 4.06 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (10-12, 4.59 ERA)
This series obviously means a lot more to the Cardinals than it does the Reds, but as we have seen over and over in the history of baseball, “want to” means perhaps less than in any other sport. There is no “play your man with more intensity” like there is in football or basketball. There is no “press the tempo” or “feel the emotion of the crowd” in the same way. Instead, what often happens is gripping the bat into sawdust while the lesser team plays loose, relaxed spoiler.
So will that be the case with the Cardinals in their penultimate series tonight with the Reds? The Cards certainly didn’t hit yester as they got blanked by the Cubs and Jon Lester. It was their second shutout over the weekend, and their third loss in four games including scoring just a single run in Coors Field in the series finale. So, coincidence or problem? The Cardinals are inexplicably bad at home compared to how great they are on the road, so coming back to Busch is no automatic advantage. Their last seven games are at home and they need to win them ALL to finish at .500 and avoid their first losing home record since 1999.
The Reds have nothing to lose, but they aren’t throwing their best starter tonight. Tim Adelman has been OK this season with an ERA right at four, and four of his last five outings have been quality starts. He has allowed two or three runs in each of them, so never dominant, but always reasonably competent. Expect the Cardinals, the third-best offense in the NL over the course of the season, to get back on track tonight with a favorable matchup. Adelman is good for five or six innings, and then they get a crack at a really lousy bullpen.
On the other hand, Garcia, despite a nice reputation, has been pretty average this year, if not outright below average. His ERA is in the high fours and he owns a losing record. He has a ballooned 8.23 ERA in his last six starts, though his “get on track” relief appearance in Coors saw him throw four scoreless innings.
Either way, this game has offense written all over it tonight. I like both starters to be hittable in their five to six innings on the mound and then the bullpens to get us over the run total threshold.