The Reds were the toast of the league before the Milwaukee Brewers cooled them off for three of four in Cincinnati. The Reds will try to return the favor starting tonight at Miller Park.
We notched a nice plus-money winner last night as we muscled-up on the run line and cashed in with a few Nationals runs in the eighth to seal the 6-3 win. Max Scherzer wasn’t as sharp as expected in the first three innings, allowing three runs, but by the end of the night he had turned in a 9K/1BB eight-inning gem – something kind of rare this season in which starting pitchers are failing to finish five with stunning alacrity. Especially with Strasburg going on the 10-Day Paternity Leave list, it’s comforting to have a workhorse like Scherzer in the rotation to give the pen some needed rest.
In fairness, Scherzer’s counterpart, Zach Wheeler, settled down nicely after a four-run first to turn in seven innings of solid work as well – an encouraging sign for the Mets who really need Wheeler to be one of the better fourth starters in baseball if they are going to catch the Nationals this season.
The win capped off a weekend series sweep for the Nationals who have already staked a commanding lead in the NL East and looked to be poised for yet another crack at the postseason.
Elsewhere in the NL, the Reds salvaged the final game against the Cubs to move to a half-game back in the Central, the Rockies capped off a devastating sweep of the Giants to move to 13-6 and send the Giants to a mirroring 6-13, and the Dodgers salvaged one against the Diamondbacks after a frustrating weekend.
We’ve got a new slate of action tonight highlighted by a matchup between the top two teams in the NL, Washington at Colorado, a good rivalry resuming with the Dodgers and Giants each trying to find their 2017 footing, and the return of one of the more exciting April rookie hurlers, Amir Garrett.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Cincinnati Reds -103 at Milwaukee Brewers +105 (Total: 8.5)
Amir Garrett (2-1, 1.83 ERA) vs. Matt Garza (season debut)
The Vegas lines are still not exceptionally keen on Garrett, but despite losing his last start, allowing just two runs in seven innings in a game he struck out twelve and walked just one batter does nothing to change MY mind; this dude is LEGIT. My regular readers already know these sentiments, but for the newcomers, Garrett – the former St. John’s Power Forward (dude has hops too) has a .203 opponent batting average this season, a WHIP of just 0.86 and has a 7:1 K/BB ratio. He has been consistently excellent; both in location and results, this entire season. His only loss was because his mates mustered just two hits in a shutout loss.
The Reds bats have been sizzling lately, despite losing four of their last six games. The tallied twenty runs over the weekend, and have fared well traditionally against Garza, so I expect a little more run support tonight for the rookie.
Meanwhile, Matt Garza will make his season debut tonight after missing the first few weeks of the season with an injury. The 33-year old righty struggled last season, posting a 6-14 record with a 5.63 ERA in twenty-five starts. His ERA hovered around six in Spring Training as well. In his career against Cincinnati, he is just 4-5 with a 4.84 ERA.
Tonight is a pretty big on paper pitching advantage for the Reds, yet the line doesn’t reflect it. I considered getting really aggressive on the run line at +145, but will play it safe and just take the Reds to win. I think Garrett keeps it rolling and that it is rather unreasonable to EXPECT Garza to deliver. He MAY, but the odds seem to favor a three-run/ five-inning type outing tonight.
Today’s MLB Pick: CINCINNATI REDS TO WIN -103