Last night felt like the end of an era for King Felix and the Seattle Mariners. After missing much of the season with an injury, Felix rejoined his long-time team in August to try and make a case that he should be resigned next year. He has had inconsistent results since rejoining the squad, but given the opportunity to back him at basically even money against a Baltimore Orioles team that is historically bad, it felt like too much value to pass up on.
But after seeing these hapless last-place Orioles pound the former King of Seattle to the tune of four runs in the first inning, I quickly realized that the end is here for Hernandez. Felix has now allowed nineteen runs in just seventeen innings of work in four September starts, and is a shell of his former self. It is a sad ending to what was a great career, but at this point it is time for the Mariners to move on from their former ace and start building towards the future.
It is hard to say whether or not the Mariners actually will move on as this is the same team that brought back both Ichiro and Ken Griffey Jr in their forties, well after they deserved a roster spot. So, Seattle does have a history of holding onto their legends a little too long. But at this point, this feels like an overaged prizefighter that just doesn’t know when to hang them up.
King Felix, do yourself and the fans of the Mariners a favor and call it a career. His last start of the season is scheduled to be at home against the Oakland Athletics, and it would be a fitting swan song for Hernandez, and I hope that he calls it a career before he tarnishes his legacy too much more. For today’s pick, we will head to Atlanta where the Braves host the San Francisco Giants.
Fresh off of clinching the National League East Division title last night, the Atlanta Braves host the San Francisco Giants tonight in game two of a three-game set. With the division title locked up, and the number one seed in the National League seemingly out of reach, the Braves won’t have a ton to play for tonight. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to try and win as they look to get their rotation set up for a deep playoff run.
For the Giants, they are hoping that Johnny Cueto can continue his success since rejoining the team after missing the entire season after going through Tommy John surgery. After struggling to stay in contention for much of the season, the Giants have now been eliminated from postseason consideration, but they are still playing hard, having won three out of their last four series.
Starting tonight for the Braves is Max Fried (16-6 4.25 ERA), and for the Giants it is Johnny Cueto (1-0 0.00 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eight runs. The Braves are -150 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:20 PM PST from SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
Johnny Cueto is hoping to show the Giants that he is back to his old self here in the season’s final days. The Giants are in a strange place right now as they were expected to compete coming into the season and struggled early on. After struggling for the first couple of months of the year, the plan was to trade away several of their best players and start a rebuild. But then they caught fire right before the trade deadline and decided against the rebuild last minute. But looking back on that decision, it was a mistake, and now they head into the offseason not sure of what direction to go.
How Cueto looks in the next couple of weeks could be a deciding factor into whether or not the Giants try and make another World Series push next year or if they decide to start the inevitable rebuilding process. In his first two starts, he has looked great. The Giants have kept him on a strict pitch count, and he likely will be on a pitch count today as well, but he has been posting strong results.
Cueto has yet to give up a run in two starts, spanning ten innings. He has allowed just four hits in the two combined starts. The Giants are hoping to get him to one hundred pitches by the end of the season, so we might see Cueto pitch into the sixth inning tonight if he has good stuff.
Max Fried was great for much of the season. He was named to the All-Star team and is amongst the league leaders in wins. But as the Braves are getting geared up for the playoffs, he has seen his results take a dip, and he just might play himself out of a playoff rotation spot. In his last two starts, Fried has gotten hammered for ten runs on fourteen hits in just seven and a third innings pitched. After being nearly unhittable for months, Fried has allowed at least three earned runs or more in five out of his last six starts.
This game has let down written all over it for the Atlanta Braves. Last night’s win ended with champagne showers in the locker room as the Braves locked down their second consecutive division title. They literally have nothing to play for tonight. They aren’t going to catch the Dodgers for the top seed, and the next two weeks will be about resting up key players and setting their rotation. It wouldn’t shock me to see a couple of the Braves regulars take the day off in this one.
And with Cueto pitching for his future, I think that he will be very good. Fried has been significantly better at home this season than on the road, so I would guess he won’t be as bad tonight as he has been the last couple of weeks, but with the price where it stands right now with the Giants getting big dog money, they are the side to be on. I expect a lower scoring game where both starters are solid but think that the Braves will be playing with a little less intensity after securing the division title last night. So, I will take another shot on a big underdog tonight in game two. Give me the San Francisco Giants at +140 tonight from Atlanta!