It’s a packed day of baseball today, so let’s get right to a few picks for Saturday afternoon and evening.
Chicago Cubs +180 at Washington Nationals -188 (Total: 7)
Edwin Jackson (0-5, 6.39 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.45 ERA)
Perhaps reports of Stephen Strasburg’s struggles are slightly exaggerated; he does have a 3.45 ERA afterall, but there is little denying that his team has struggled a bit in his games so far this year and a big part of it has been his first inning struggles. In his last outing, his first appearance since apparent arm tightness against the Braves two weeks ago, he allowed four runs in seven innings. In fact, he hasn’t pitched past the 8th inning yet in the major leagues.
The Cubs lineup ain’t the ’27 Yankees, but I expect them to dent the plate a few times against Strasburg. And that leaves the only thing between this game and the OVER 7 as Edwin Jackson. Even with Jayson Werth sitting out today, it’s hard to see Jackson dominating the Nationals lineup. I like both teams to score some runs. I’d pick the Nationals, but at -188, you need to decide if there is enough value there for you. I am not a fan of any baseball line once it approaches -200 just given the random nature of the sport (the worst teams in the league still win nearly sixty times a year…)
I will, however, take the OVER 7. I like this game to be a 6-2, 7-4ish game.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 7 (-105)
New York Yankees +129 at Kansas City Royals -138 (Total: 7.5)
Andy Pettitte vs. James Shields
The Yankees have exceeded everyone’s expectations so far in 2013, especially considering all the players who are NOT playing because of injury. However, they have gotten nice offensive contributions from Vernon Wells, Ichiro and Travis Hafner though the middle of their lineup to help offset the missing Jeter, A-Rod and Texieria. It doesn’t seem like it should work, but so far, it has.
Another big reason for their success has been the starting pitching, and especially the pleasant agelessness of Andy Pettitte. The 40-year old lefty (didn’t he retire four years ago??!?) is 3-2 with a 4.06 ERA and gave them a steadying influence at the bottom of the rotation.
Much of Pettitte’s climb in ERA has come in his last two starts, where he is 0-1 with an ERA over 9.00. So is it a sign of rough stretches to come? I think it very well could be.
Meanwhile, KC throws prize free agent acquisition James Shields tonight. Shields has been everything as advertised despite a 2-2 record. His 2.56 ERA is good, and his 0.96 WHIP is spectacular. Anything under 1.00 WHIP-wise should earn you 15-18 wins in a season. Provided the run support is there…
I am going to take the Royals to get a little run support tonight and Big Game James to earn the win over the Yankees.
Free Pick: Kansas City Royals to WIN -138