It took 16 innings, but we finally got to officially notch our win last night with the Nationals taking down the Brewers in Milwaukee by a 4-2 score. You can usually rest your head on the pillow pretty safely with the UNDER 8 on a 2-2 game heading to extra innings, but after a few of the tough beats of the last week (multiple games with 3+ run 9th innings to steal a victory), I was not putting anything in the books until the final out was recorded.
In other interesting news, MLB has quietly announced that the silly rule that overturned a few calls in last week’s Pirates vs. Reds game regarding the catcher blocking the plate has been tweaked to allow the catcher to be in front of, or “blocking” the plate on force outs – largely because where else was he supposed to go to catch the ball and tag the plate?? It was an absurd overreaction to a rule with good intent but WAY too much grey area to be reliably enforced.
Let’s try to build on yesterday’s win and pluck another winner out of an interesting Wednesday slate of games.
Today’s Free Pick:
Cincinnati Reds -124 at Chicago Cubs +117 (Total: 7.5)
Mat Latos (0-0, 3.68 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (5-7, 5.12 ERA)
The Reds failed to muster a single baserunner last night until the 7th innings, snapping a nice string of offensive performances and (mostly) wins. But that didn’t stop catcher Devin Mesoraco from homering in his fifth straight game to tie a franchise record that includes Ken Griffey Jr, Adam Dunn, and Johnny Bench. That’s pretty good company for home run hitters. He will try to set a new franchise mark tonight in a ballpark that has been very kind to his Reds over the last few years.
The Cubs will send Edwin Jackson to the mound, who has had his share of struggles this season. However, he has been much better in his last four outings, going 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA over his last four home games. He will need to be sharp to counter Mat Latos who will likely be allowed to go a little deeper into the ballgame in his third start back from injury. He has pitched well enough to win in both outings – leaving both games with a lead, and you can bet he will be looking to get through the seventh inning that has caused the Reds pen so much trouble this season.
The Reds are one of the hotter offensive teams in the league, despite not making up a ton of ground due to the solid play from Milwaukee and St. Louis. I expect them to hit much better tonight and to get a good outing from Latos. The Reds haven’t lost back to back games in Wrigley since 2010. It’s a good play to back them avoiding that streak-breaker tonight.