The sky is falling in the Nation’s Capital. Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of an overreaction, but at 2-5, the Nats are no more than one more losing series away from the Bryce Harper “give me my ring” jokes to get turned up to a ten. Of course, it is a marathon of a season still to go and over time that pitching staff, barring a rash of injuries, is going to keep the Nats in contention all season long. But it definitely isn’t the start they were looking for and yesterday’s beat-down by the Sox ramps the early season pressure up a few notches.
Meanwhile, we took a tough one-run loss yesterday with the Jays bats falling asleep yesterday in a 2-1 loss to Odorizzi and the Rays. Kyle is already on this game, and I also like the notion of the Blue Jays potent lineup getting back to business today. We will try to get back to business as well; the business of stacking up winners – so let’s dive in to today’s free pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cincinnati Reds +133 at Chicago Cubs -143 (Total: 7)
Anthony DeSclafani (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Jake Arrietta
The last time Arrietta faced this Reds lineup he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Opposing him is another young arm, Anthony DeSclafani, who made a solid Reds season debut in his first start, allowing only two runs in six innings in a 3-2 win against the Pirates. It should have been good enough to win, but he earned a no-decision for the effort.
The Cubs won last night in ten innings, despite a disastrous outing from Jon Lester. He allowed three runs in the first inning and another three runs before getting run from the game, but the Reds Achilles’ heel showed up once again, the bullpen, and blew a 6-4 lead in the eighth before capitulating in the tenth on a bases-loaded hit.
The Reds could be 6-1 if not for the bullpen, but have lost the last two games in extra innings on bullpen losses to drop three straight overall and raise some serious questions as to their viability as a contender. The offense has been good and scored enough runs to win games, but the bullie has been brutal.
But can they score enough runs tonight? Arrietta has been a tough opponent for them in the past, however the Reds are 19-7 in their last 26 games in Chicago and are averaging a healthy 4.29 runs per game. Chicago is also scoring some runs, averaging 4.17 on the young season. It’ll be another warm night in Wrigley, so I expect both starters to give up a few runs. The reason I like the OVER is the bullpen nightmares of Cincinnati. Their bullpen ERA is close to 5, and that included the perfect start of the season of Aroldis Chapman. The rest of the relief corps has been disastrous.
I like the Reds to get a few runs off Arrietta this time around, but the total to creep over in the late innings.