Things were looking pretty good last night until the ninth inning. Two of the most reliable pens in all the land combined to allow SIX RUNS in the final inning; four by the Cards atop the ninth to put the game out of reach and then two meaningless runs in the bottom by the Pirates to add insult to my injury. Suffice it to say, the ninth run barrage pushed the total well over the 7.5 threshold (I mistakenly typed seven in my original pick – not that it mattered either way).
The interesting take away is yet to be seen. If this is the opening spark to a Pirates three-game sweep, then we will have an interesting race and yet another fun stretch run to witness. If it was simply a bad night Cardinals, then so be it, but the win does at lest leave the door open in baseball’s best division… for now.
We have had some tough beats in our last two games, so it is high-time to get back to stacking winners. Let’s dive in to today’s free pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Minnesota Twins +182 at Houston Astros -193 (Total: 8)
Ervin Santana vs. Lance McCullers
The Twins just won’t die. Despite the youth and low expectations and relatively anonymous pitching staff, the Twins enter tonight at four games over .500 and right in the mix for the second wildcard playoff spot. Tonight they send Ervin Santana, who has struggled in most of his last five starts, but who is also fresh off a dominating start against these same Astros in his last outing. They will look for more of the same tonight.
Opposing him will be Lance McClullers, who has had an excellent season but posted an ERA of 7.42 and a WHIP of 1.80 in his last three starts, all Houston losses. His saving grace is his 4-0 record at home this season and 1.65 ERA in eight starts. I expect him to get back on track today and pitch better than he has been, but I am still not sure if his recent run justifies a nearly 1:2 price to back Houston tonight.
Minnesota is hot and Santana handled this lineup well less than a week ago. TheTwins got routed last night for the second straight loss, but were 10-2 prior to that bump. Houston is the better team and they are very good at home. But at nearly two to one odds and a recent-trend starting pitcher edge, I’ll roll the dice on the Twinkies this evening.