Under today’s picks I have two premium plays available. For a free play selection we are going to look at the total in Diamondbacks and Cubs. Both of these teams are not offensive juggernauts, therefore the total lies at 7.5 runs. On the mound are two pitchers that have far exceeded pitching expectations.
Josh Collmenter came out of the bullpen to be a saving grace for the Diamondbacks. At stretches in May and early June he was there only reliable pitcher. Collmenter though does not have overpowering pitches or durability. He typically can pitch a maximum of six innings.
For the Cubs, Jake Arrieta has been pitching out of his mind. He has come close to a no hitter and had a fantastic June. He has been almost non hittable. Even though he gave up three runs in his last start it was off of just four hits.
Post All-Star breaks you’ll usually see pitching wane considerably. Mark Buerhle saw his digression before the break. I think you’ll start to see that with both Arrieta and Collmenter. Arrieta has assumed the role of Cubs dominant pitcher with the departure of Hammel and Samardzija. The mess in Arizona has been well-documented and needs no further elaboration.
Though you may have a hard time watching both the Cubs and Diamondbacks offense, sit back and wait for that half inning outbreak. This total will surpass 7.5.
It’s back to the diamond on Friday. Teams are rested and ready to go. Which will have the strong impact post All-Star break? Bats or pitching? Based on the lines set for today, the books are counting on the bats. There’s a lot of high totals floating around today. Most are in the 7.5 to 8.5 range.
Focus for tonight’s free play comes in the Seattle Mariners vs LA Angels. Weaver heads to the mound for LA while Iwakuma does for Seattle. I’m focusing on the total tonight, which is 7.5. The over is +100 while the under is -120.
It’s a tale of two teams playing the opposite. Seattle has been winning when their pitching is solid because they are failing to produce runs. At home scoring runs has been even more of a struggle for the Mariners than on the road. LA on the other hand has had poor pitching that has been offset by high amounts of runs being produced.
I’ll put the momentum on the home town Mariners tonight. Iwakuma shook off mid June woes to finish the latter part of June and start to July strong. Weaver should be able to get out of any jams as Seattle has a hard time getting RISP. Take the under at -120 tonight.
Over the last month and a half the Marlins and Mets have been involved in three series. Even for division teams that is abnormal for a short stretch. Today, Tom Koehler heads to the mound for the Marlins while Dice-K does for the Mets.
Miami still ranks as one of the better teams in baseball for scoring but is slowly beginning to drop. Their bats have been cold for the last four weeks. Wins they have been able to get as a team have come via a flurry of runs in one inning. They’re just not getting the inning after inning offensive production you’d expect.
Conversely the Mets have hit a bit of a stride thanks to their pitching staff. All five starters have had decent outings as of late, including Dice-K. Many have been waiting for Dice-K to have a major slump and be sent back to the bullpen. Thus far though he has managed each outing fairly well.
With how poor the Marlins are hitting the ball, Dice-K just needs to sustain control with his walks. For Koehler, look for him to command this game after an atrocious outing in Arizona in his last start.
This total is sitting at 7.5 runs -110. Play the first five under as well to offset any possible late inning runs giving up by the Marlins staff.
The Yankees are struggling to produce runs as of late. Pitching has been erratic for them. By swapping Nuno for Brandon McCarthy the Yankees hope to find the veteran ace that CC Sabathia was supposed to be.
At this stage of the season the Yankees look like a tired old baseball team. The usual reliability of Tanaka came to another blow yesterday. Cleveland jumped on top of several of his pitches for two home runs.
Cleveland is one of those teams that gets hot and cold unlike any other team in baseball. They’ve had a couple of different winning and losing streaks to showcase this.
Josh Tomlin heads to the mound today for the Indians and should find success against the struggling Yankees. In his last three starts he has had two poor performances and one outstanding against the Mariners. Due to his erratic play there is value on the Indians today. They opened around -114 and are now at -120.
Though Tomlin may give up a few runs, I think the Indians bats are confident after success against Tanaka. Tanaka had been 10-0 against teams he was facing for the first time. Breaking that streak has to be a boost of confidence to the Indians.
Take Cleveland to win again against the Yankees.
The Miami Marlins are reeling but still are in position to get themselves back in their divisional race. Just two weeks ago they were the front runners ahead of the Braves and Nationals. Their recent slump and the Braves/Nationals win streaks have caused a wide gap between them and their division leaders.
In baseball a five game lead can disappear rapidly. Miami has found themselves in several extra inning and one-run games that have been brutal losses. Yesterday they lost to the Cardinals with the bases loaded and 1-out. Casey McGhee hit into a game ending double play. The day before that they lost to the Phillies by giving up two late inning runs.
The story on how the Marlins lose is becoming a repeat story.
One bright spot the Marlins hope to receive dividends is with their young pitcher Andrew Heaney. He has had his problems controlling his command in early innings. This will be his fourth start with a current era of 5.29. It’s much higher than his style of pitching warrants. He just needs to settle down in the early innings.
Timing is everything and today should be the day Heaney fills comfortable. He was on his way to a solid outing last week against Oakland, until a rough 6th inning occurred. After allowing zero runs, he gave up three two-out hits, including a 3-run home run that allotted four runs in the inning.
Look for the Marlins to erase last night’s rough loss and get a win today in St. Louis
Today’s free play comes in the Tampa Bay vs New York. The Yankees are coming off a horrible Sunday night outing against Boston. Value on today’s game is set currently at -105 on both the Yankees and Rays.
Tampa Bay is coming off a great series against the Baltimore Orioles. They displayed some hitting for the first time in consecutive games that transferred into wins. Duplicating that will be the goal as Chris Archer takes the mound today. Archer has arguably been the best rotation pitcher for the Rays. Commanding complete control of games with a great fastball and long outings.
He had a solid month and a half on the mound before having a rough outing against Pittsburgh. His strikeout rate has not waned but he is starting to show a bit of inconsistency for walks and hits. The Yankees are not struggling hitting the ball and should be able to produce runs.
Those looking at Tampa Bay and expecting a replication of strong bats need to calm down. They’ve struggled all season. Now is the time to capitalize on value on the Yankees. Enjoy and good luck on today’s play.