It’s been an unbelievable start to the season for veteran pitcher Aaron Harang. I know I took a wager betting against him in his second start, doubting if he was really back to his 2006-2009 form after five years bouncing around the major leagues. Last night he became the first pitcher in twenty three years to have two starts in the same season with six or more innings pitched and ZERO hits allowed. His pitch count once again prevented him from getting a shot at the no-no, but it’s been a pretty phenomenal April for the veteran righty.
I’m not sure he can keep it up all season, but if he is anything CLOSE to the guy who was one of the steadier pitchers in the big for most of the late 2000’s, then the Braves are legitimate contenders to win the whole thing.
Let’s stay with the Braves for tonight’s free pick:
Atlanta Braves -127 at New York Mets +123 (Total: 7)
Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.64 ERA) vs. Bartolo Colon (1-2, 6.00 ERA)
Bartolo Colon’s season numbers are a little misleading, as the extend of the damage all came in his last start, a five-inning, nine-run debacle against the Angels. He tweaked his back a bit in that start, but is expected to be fine tonight against Atlanta.
He will face off against Ervin Santana, who has only allowed one run as a Brave so far this season, and enters with a WHIP of just 0.64. This game has the makings of a pitcher’s duel, but I think there are going to be a few more runs scored than expected.
I don’t think Santana is unhittable despite a good start, and the Braves lineup has been so good this season it may be asking a bit much for Bartolo Colon to shut them down with a sore back. I like Atlanta to jump up and score some runs today and to help push the total over the seven run threshold. The Braves have scored more than seven runs by themselves three times in their last seven games and have scored six or more runs in five of their last seven.
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays (Total: 7.5)
Ivan Nova (2-1, 5.94 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (1-1, 4.50 ERA)
These two teams lit up the scoreboard for 16 runs last night and have combined for 28 runs so far in the two games in this series. Regression to the norm theory would lend credence to some quiet bats today, but I’m not thrilled with the way Nova and Archer have thrown so far this season.
I think we get some more offensive fireworks today between two teams capable of putting up some big runs. Seven and a half feels a little low, but I’ll take advantage of it. Give me the OVER today between two fierce AL East rivals.