We notched a second straight victory last night with an easy cover on the Red Sox v. Royals run total UNDER 8.5. Even with Kansas City tacking on a few insurance runs in the 8th, the 5-1 total fell easily beneath the limit and cashed a nice winning ticket. The win was KC’s 16th in their last 20 games, and pulled them to within four games in the wildcard chase. It’s unlikely the Royals will be able to overtake the logjam in front of them, but it is nice to see meaningful baseball being played in long beleaguered traditional powerhouses like Kansas City, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. It’s been a fun renaissance summer for MLB with a nice mix of big market powers and small market traditional fan bases both having reason to cheer.
For tonight’s free pick, let’s focus on a game that has some star power and big names teams all wrapped into one, as the Tigers and their 12-game winning streak head to the Bronx to visit A-Rod and the Yankees.
Detroit Tigers -107 at New York Yankees -103 (Total: 8.5)
Ricky Porcello (8-6, 4.28 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.08 ERA)
Alex Rodriguez has played well enough, and his OBP is over .500, but it appears that simply filling the black hole at third base isn’t enough to resurrect the Yankees suddenly-moribund playoff hopes. They have lost all three games with A-Rod and four straight overall and things don’t get any easier with Miggy and the ridiculously hot Tigers coming to town for the weekend.
The Tigers are fresh off a four game sweep of the Indians and now have a firm stranglehold on the AL Central with a seven game lead. It must be frustrating for the Royals, playing their best baseball in twenty five years and LOSING ground in the standings… Alas, momentum is only as good as the next starting pitcher, and the potent Tiger lineup faces a good one tonight in Nova. Nova enters with an ERA right at three, and a dazzling 1.71 ERA in his last three starts.
Meanwhile, like seemingly every pitcher on the Tigers staff, Porcello has been dealing lately. He is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his last three outings. One of the keys to his success has been an ability to throw strikes. He has walked two or less people in 20 of his 21 starts this season. Given the Yankees alarming lack of power, there is no point in giving them too many baserunners for free – make them string together three or four hits to have a big inning. It hasn’t happened often lately, as the Yankees have scored more than four runs just once in their last eight games.
I like this game to remain a lower-scoring affair, despite the Tigers potent offense. I think Nova will pitch well enough to give his team a chance. In the end, it’s hard to bet against the Tigers at this point, though I’ll admit the -107 number is tempting. However for my free pick for tonight is the UNDER 8.5. If you are able to get even-money odds on A-Rod being booed however, feel free to bet your children or home… (Joke. Please do not bet your home. Ever. On anything. Thanks…)
Enjoy the game, both Tigers fans and A-Rod haters alike.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 8.5