The Houston implosion continued last night with another far-from-dramatic loss to the rival Texas Rangers, a loss that leaves them a crippling three games back in the loss column after entering the series with a one game lead just four days ago. Ouch.
The Astros misfortune is our gain as we notched a fourth straight victory and the second fading the also-fading Astros. At this point, their playoff status is in jeopardy – something that seemed hard to fathom just a few months ago. The Angels are just two games back, and not that it has any bearing on anything, but don’t think for a second there aren’t some people in baseball rooting for a star-studded Angels vs. Yankees one-game winner-take-all playoff. As nice as the Astros story has been, I think they are still a year or two away. Meanwhile, time is short to A-Rod and Pujols and it would be fun to see each or either in the postseason for an extended run. Plus, getting Mike Trout on television so the most dominant nearly-anonymous athlete in American pop culture can get a more proper introduction to a national audience is never a bad thing.
Let’s see if we can make it five straight tonight and start the weekend in the fashion we spent the week; as winners…
Today’s Free Pick:
Kansas City Royals +100 at Detroit Tigers -110 (Total: 8.5)
Johnny Cueto vs. Justin Verlander
Is it piling on at this point? Is it getting gratuitous? Perhaps. But there is just no avoiding the 1,000 pound gorilla in the room; Johnny Cueto isn’t going well and its been a flat-out UGLY month. He has been getting shelled with a regularity never before seen in his sterling career and until there is even a remote sign of correction, I am going to jump all over a near even-money line fading him.
Plus, Verlander has been good in the second half of the season. In fact, if you didn’t know of Verlander’s early struggles and Cueto’s recent ones, this pitching matchup would leap off the paper and lull you into a false sense of “bet the UNDER” security. We will not be so swayed. Based on recent performance, Cueto could obliterate the OVER by himself before Yost can sprint to the mound to yank him.
Here’s how bad it has been for Johnny Beisbol: In his last three starts he is 0-3 with an ERA over nine and a WHIP of 1.98. He has lost five straight starts with an ERA of 9..58 and a whopping eight runs allowed. Expect the Tigers to get some offense cooking tonight at Comerica.
We could blather on with more analysis, but there really isn’t much more to say. Until Cueto shows me something, I’m going to keep fading and making easy money.
Free Pick: Detroit Tigers to WIN -110