Things looked good for an upset winner when the Nats took a 3-0 lead, but their pen eventually faltered and 3-0 became 5-3 and my dreams of upset glory and a monster week were quickly dashed. But perhaps the Nationals bullpen won’t be faltering for long. The Nats pulled off one of the stranger pre-deadline deals, acquiring Mark Melancon from the Pirates – the move is odd because the Pirates are in contention, have no intention of waiving the white flag, and still envision themselves as a playoff contender. Their thought? The bullpen is still strong without Melancon, and being in a walk-year, Melancon was likely to attract offers far to high for the small-market Pirates to match. Therefore, the flipped him while they could for a quality major league reliever in Felipe Rivero and a interesting minor league prospect Taylor Hearn.
What does this move mean for the Nats? Perhaps a final end to their long-plaguing bullpen woes. Melancon’s 1.80 ERA is lower than Aroldis Chapman (2.07) even though he obviously brings less sizzle and attention. At the very least, the move keeps them on pace with the Cubs in the National League arms race…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Colorado Rockies +185 at New York Mets -192 (Total: 7)
Chad Bettis (9-6, 5.19 ERA) vs. Noah Syndergaard (9-5, 2.45 ERA)
There are much safer and more conservative picks to end the week with than betting against Noah Syndergaard, but alas, that is where I am headed today with a big Sunday swing for the fences. Before you close the web page here, just quickly hear me out – then feel free to agree or disagree with both your thoughts and wagering…
The Rockies are ON FIRE. Like, wake up the ghosts of Matt Holiday sliding home against the Padres on FIRE. I have never mentioned them as a contender. You have never considered them as a contender. No one even knew they were still playing baseball. Yet, here they are on the final day of July, right at .500 and only a game behind the Mets in the wildcard race. The line between ‘contender’ and ‘other guys’ has been stark and easy this season in the NL, and the Rox are the first team to Red Rover their way to other side all season long.
Colorado has won five in a row and nine of their last ten. The Mets have dropped seven of ten and actually have a worse run differential this season than Colorado. The Rockies have passed the Cubs and Cards for the most runs scored in the NL. The Mets lead only lowly Atlanta.
Is Syndergaard versus Bettis in CitiField a ridiculous mismatch? Sure. Hence the nearly 2:1 odds. But considering the momentum of both teams and the face that the Mets have lost three of the last five games Syndergaard has started, it is a reasonable roll of the dice.
There is a prevailing wisdom that the Rockies stats are only gaudy because of their home stadium. Yes, they score more at home, but their road splits still dwarf the Mets, so they have the bats advantage. They are .500 overall, and only one game under .500 on the road – meaning, they aren’t any better of a team when they leave home according to the record.
If there were no monetary incentive, obviously, the Mets with Syndergaard are the play. But at nearly 2 to 1 money, I’m gonna take a shot on the mojo of the Rockies lasting one more day. Something fun is brewing in Colorado right now, and even outside the Rocky Mountain air, things are clicking.