I'm sure by now you've all seen the footage of the "Gordie-go-hard" security guard at SunTrust Park in Atlanta taking away a baseball from a little kid. If you haven't, check it out. I understand that part of his job calls for him to keep the fans in line and prevent them from getting too rowdy and/or disrupting the actual game. However, I also thought common sense was a requirement in order to get said job.
This particular security guard isn't the first and certainly won't be the
last to have to handle fan interference on a ground-rule double down the
foul line - especially in ball parks that have little to no room between
foul line and seats. Sure, the guy who actually reached over the railing
and scooped up the ball should pay more attention to the game and think
twice before leaning into the field of play for any reason. However, the
fact that the security guard confiscated the ball from a kid, who looks no
more than seven years old, is just absurd. The security guard treated the
ball like it was a weapon in a crime scene instead of an $8 souvenir. It
would just be nice to see a little common sense in today's world, but
unfortunately common sense isn't so common anymore. But I digress. Let's
move on to some actual game talk.
Friday's MLB slate features all 30 teams in action, with a double header set to take place at Guaranteed Rate Field (such a dumb name) between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. However, the series that I am looking forward to most is the one between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays. These two clubs hate each other with a passion, and the Rangers will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak while the Jays will be looking to keep the momentum going and win a fourth straight ball game. The Washington Nationals get the dubious distinction of being the Favorite of the Day, checking in at -255 against the visiting San Diego Padres. Max Scherzer takes the bump against Luis Perdomo.
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The Chicago Cubs entered the season with high expectations. They were expected to easily win the NL Central again and then get themselves in a position to defend their World Series crown. After a sluggish start, the Cubs are now four games over .500 (25-21) and just half a game up on the Milwaukee Brewers. I highly recommend all Cubs' fans to relax. There is still over 100 games left to play, and the Cubs will win the NL Central going away.
The Cubs are currently riding a three-game winning streak after taking the last three of a four-game series against San Francisco. The offense is starting to come alive as they posted 14 runs during the three-game streak. The starting pitching has also been solid, and tonight's pitcher should be able to contain the Dodgers' offense.
Jake Arrieta, (5-3, 4.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 55K's) takes the bump against a Dodgers' team he has owned over the last two games. Arrieta has blanked the Dodgers in 16 consecutive innings, dating back to his first no-hitter on Aug. 30 at Dodger Stadium. After Arrieta's last outing, where he limited the Brewers to an unearned run on five hits, I can say with high confidence that it'll take a few innings for the Dodgers to get the best of him.
On the flip side of the coin, the Dodgers will also have a top pitcher on the bump. Alex Wood has been one of the biggest surprises this season, and after starting the season in the bullpen Wood got his starting role thanks to injuries. Wood is 5-0 with a 1.88 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP and 52K's. In his last outing, he tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out four against the Miami Marlins. In his career against the Cubs, he owns a 1-2 record with a 3.57 ERA.
With that said, I believe the pitching will win out over the hitting tonight. I expect the total to stay under the number of 7.5, and I will be taking a shot with the "under" in the first five innings.
Pick: "Under" 4(120) - First Five Innings
Atlanta Braves vs San Francisco Giants
Earlier this week, I wrote about the Atlanta Braves' lineup and how I like what they are trying to do with it in order to turn themselves into a contender. I said the only thing holding them back is their pitching staff, and I am going to exploit that weakness tonight and cash a ticket.
The Braves come into tonight's game after getting torched for 21 runs over their last two games - both losses to Pittsburgh. Tonight's starter is Jamie Garcia. And with all due respect to Garcia, he may be the worst pitcher in the rotation -- and that's saying a lot considering the rotation features R.A Dickey and 44-year old Bartolo Colon. Garcia owns a 1-3 record with a 4.07 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 22 walks to 33 strikeouts. In his latest outing, Garcia allowed three runs in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals. This was by far his best appearance, and Braves' fans hope he can build off of it. I don't expect him too.
The Giants are in desperate need of a boost after losing their last three to the Cubs in Chicago. They return home, where they are 11-10 so far this season and face a team that can't seem to keep the ball in the ball park. The Giants will send Matt Cain to the mound in hopes he can continue his home dominance. Cain is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA at home in four starts this year and was able to limit the Dodgers to one run in 6 2/3 innings in his latest outing. To take his stats one step further, Cain has been solid against the Braves to the tune of a 4-2 record and a 3.42 ERA.
As I mentioned, I like what the Braves are trying to become, but I don't think this young team can consistently get the job done on the road. I'd recommend taking the Giants in this spot, and a play on the First Five Innings line as well.
Pick: Giants -0.5 (+115) - First Five Innings
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