We split our picks again last night in MLB, but before digging into baseball today, a quick note on the NBA, since I won’t have a column to write until Saturday thanks to the NBA going dark for two full days in the middle of their peak playoff season (why?? I don’t get it – but that’s a story for another day).
Wow. Man, did I really really fan on last night’s pick. Any snide remarks or ridicule is well-earned, and I can take it. You know the easiest job in America right now?? Serge Ibaka’s agent! With his absence being the only discernable difference between this series and the regular season the Thunder went from perfect 4-0 victors to one of the worst pairs of back-to-back losses in the history of the NBA Conference Finals. I underestimated the impact of Ibake defensively AND offensively in terms of floor spacing. I know the Thunder went down 2-0 two years ago and came back to win the series, but they really feel DONE at this point…
Back to the diamond, there are 13 games in action today, a few matinees, but mostly evening games. I’ve got a pair of underdogs I like today, let’s see if we can get a nice big payday, though even a split will cash positive results…
Today’s Free Picks:
New York Yankees +138 at Chicago White Sox +150 (Total: 7.5)
David Phelps (1-0, 3.33) vs. Chris Sale (3-0, 2.30 ERA)
Chris Sale enters tonight’s game perfect on the season and boasting a 2.30 ERA that is meritorious of his record. However, he is making his first start after a brief stint on the DL, so it remains to see how long the Sox might let their ace go tonight. And that could be a problem. The Yankees are hitting .285 against lefties this season, so assuming they can scratch a few runs against Sale, I’ll take their chances against the Sox pen for three full innings.
Sale has the pitching advantage in the starter column, but the Yankees are a better team overall, especially with the Sox injury to Abreu. I like the value of a good left-hand hitting team tonight at good plus money.
Milwaukee Brewers +125 at Atlanta Braves -135 (Total: 6.5)
Matt Garza (2-4, 4.83) vs. Aaron Harang (4-4, 2.98 ERA)
These two hooked up at the beginning of the season for a thrilling no-hit duel late into the sixth and seventh innings. However, things have been a little rocky of late for each. Harang still has great numbers, but when you figure he had an ERA under 1.00 for the first three weeks of the season, you can assume he’s been a more typical fourth or fifth starter since. Garza has had his struggles as well, but he has a much better lineup behind him.
The Braves took the first two in this series, Milwaukee won last night. I like them to even the series at two apiece tonight, and are a nice value in a pretty even pitching matchup at +125.