Heading into this past weekend, there were only eight players in Major League Baseball history that could boast about being apart of the 600-home run club. After Saturday night, that number became nine when Albert Pujols took Ervin Santana deep for his 600th home run in the fourth inning. To make the milestone even more exciting, Pujols did it in grand fashion, hammering out a grand slam and putting the game out of reach. Pujols now joins a list of all-time greats starting with the current home run leader Barry Bonds, followed by Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome and Sammy Sosa. While Pujols may not have the power of Bonds or the smooth swing like Griffey Jr., he has been a consistent force and fan favorite since he hit his first home run back on April 6, 2001. Congrats, Albert. Here's to another 100 big league dingers.
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And lastly, another story I wanted to touch base on briefly is the amazing
no-hitter Edinson Volquez threw against the Arizona Diamondbacks. This
performance from Volquez came out of nowhere considering his numbers have
been very poor so far this season. But in the fine fashion of sports and
sporting gods, his no-hitter was dedicated to his good friend Yordano
Ventura, who would have turned 26 on that day. If you think Dee Gordon
hitting a home run in his first at bat after Jose Fernandez's tragic
boating accident was a coincidence, Volquez's no-hitter proves that it's
possible for a higher being to guide you down a path of success.
Tuesday's MLB slate features all 30 teams in action and two massive series. In the AL, the second-place Boston Red Sox are in New York for a massive three-game series against the Yankees. The Sox are just two games back of first place and are coming off a split against Baltimore. The Yankees are coming off a split against Toronto, so this has the makings of a typical Boston/New York series (four hour games, lots of pitching changes and tons of drama). Currently the Yankees are -115 with the total set at nine. Over in the NL, the Washington Nationals are in Los Angeles to battle the Dodgers in the second of a three-game series. The Nats prevailed last night by a score of 4-2 and send out Max Scherzer to the bump to oppose Brandon McCarthy. The Nats' are -113 with the total set at 7.5.
All odds are courtesy of 5Dimes.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs Baltimore Orioles
The Pittsburgh Pirates come into tonight's game as one of the stranger teams to understand so far this season. They are currently last in the NL Central with a record of 26-31, but they are just three and a half games back of the first-place Chicago Cubs. With the exception of yesterday's 11-1 victory over the doormat New York Mets, the Pirates never seem to blow anyone away and seemingly always struggle to get consistent production. They rank 23rd in runs per game (4.2), hits per game (8.2) and batting average (.242), while ranking 19th in OBP (.319) and 26 th in slugging (.385). However, despite those terrible offensive numbers, I expect the Pirates to continue their offensive outbreak and put up another big number against Baltimore's Kevin Gausman.
So far this season, Gausman has been hit around pretty consistently. He has given up more than eight hits in each of his last four starts while walking eight and striking out just 14. On the season, Gausman owns a 3-4 record with a 5.92 ERA and a 1.84 WHIP. His last outing provided a little hope for O's fans that he can pitch a lot better than he has been. However, if you watch that game closely you will notice that the defense behind him made a slew of plays. The Yankees were able to hit the ball hard but were unlucky to not find any holes in the defense. The Pirates, who have put up 25 runs over their last three games, will be licking their chops and expecting to continue the offensive surge.
Offensively for the O's, they should have some success against a pitcher they know all too well. Despite Ivan Nova owning an 8-4 lifetime record against the O's, he owns an ERA above five in 16 career starts. The O's are coming off a split against the Red Sox where they only put up 15 runs, but the team knows they must take advantage of "lesser" opponents if they want to keep themselves in the division race.
I expect plenty of runs to be scored in this one, so I'll take the First Five Innings "Over" 4.5 (-110).
San Francisco Giants vs Milwaukee Brewers
The San Francisco Giants were victorious last night in Game 1 of this four-game series. They managed to score two runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth to break a 2-2 game and win for just the second time in seven games. I do not expect that to happen again for several reasons, starting with their own pitcher. Matt Cain gets the nod tonight, and he has been absolutely terrible so far this year. He owns a 3-4 record with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. He has lost each of his last three starts. And for some reason, the Giants just don't give him any run support. The Giants totalled just four runs during those three defeats.
Another reason the Giants won't win tonight is the fact that the Brewers starting rotation, including tonight's starter, has been lights out. The starting rotation has combined to go 5-1 over the last 11 games with a 1.32 ERA. It has been the bullpen struggles that has let the team down. The Brewers bullpen now has 17 losses, which is the most in the majors this year.
Tonight's starter, Chase Anderson, has dazzled over his last two games. Anderson tossed seven scoreless innings in each outing while striking out 18 with just four walks. He opened with seven no-hit innings on May 27 against Arizona, which is a much better-hitting team than the Giants.
I don't expect the Giants to get to Anderson tonight, which means the bullpen won't be put in a position where they could possibly blow the game.
Take the Brewers wire-to-wire.
Pick: Milwaukee Brewers -0.5 +110 - First Five Innings
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