We return to a full slate of action today after a light Monday MLB schedule, and fortunately for MLB some nice story lines are emerging just in time to try and hold some interest as football season overwhelms the sports landscape over the next few weeks.
I know, I know, everyone roots for the little guy and we love to see the anonymous long downtrodden team emerge and fight for the title. We root for Cinderella. But we watch the Yankees. We watch Duke basketball and Alabama football and the Lakers. For you soccer fans, Man U moves the needle, even if they can’t win a game. So while stories like the Royals are endearing and teams like Oakland and Baltimore and the Brewers have been fantastic this season, MLB needs the Dodgers and Yankees in the postseason.
The first seems a certainty, the latter once again seems possible. After knocking off the Royals in a make-up game one-game “series” last night, they’ve now won five games in a row. Michael Pineda pitched fantastic, making dreams of a reasonable pitching rotation once again viable, and they are now just 2 ½ games back in their wildcard push in The Captain’s final season. Can they make the postseason? It still feels like a longshot with Detroit one of the two teams ahead of them, but you can bet MLB is (silently) rooting for Jeter.
They need something to pry some eyes from the NFL juggernaut…
Today’s Free Pick:
New York Yankees +103 at Detroit Tigers -111 (Total: 8)
Brandon McCarthy (8-12, 4.01 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (14-8, 3.10 ERA)
This series went from “interesting” to “enormous” thanks to the recent surge by the Yankees and slide by the Tigers. There are now serious playoff implications unfolding the next three days in D-Town. The Tigers have to feel good handing the ball to Porcello tonight. His numbers on the season aren’t staggering, but his recent performance looks more like one of the best young pitchers in baseball; enough to standout on a super-talented staff. He has hurled three shutouts this season, including a three-hit gem in his last outing. He is 2-1 with 2.84 ERA in his last five outings against the Yankees.
Countering him tonight is Brandon McCarthy. Forget the season stat line you see above – here’s the one you need to know about McCarthy. He is 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA in eight starts since joining the Yankees. Talk all you want about Lester and Price and Samardzija, but McCarthy has been the biggest pickup and they got him for nearly nothing. He will have a tough task facing a deep lineup on the road. The Tigers have scored 21 runs in their last two games, capping off a wild series split against the Twins which saw a total of 73 runs scored in four games. Insanity.
Anyhow – the Tigers can hit, but I’ll take both pitchers to be sharp in a very important series opener. Eight seems a little high with the way both these guys have thrown lately. It feels more like a 3-2 type ballgame. I’ll stay UNDER tonight.