Thursday’s Results: 2-1
All-time Results: 11-7-1, +4.08 Units
St. Louis Cardinals +102 @ Chicago Cubs – 1 Unit
We have a biggish name pitcher here against a rookie pitcher that happens to be having a much better start to his season.
World Series winner, Kyle Hendricks (1-4, 5.33 ERA) signed a mega-contract with the Cubs this summer and he knows the deal. The city will not tolerate his current output. “I got to start getting better”, he said recently to Chicago media. Might be reading too much into the quote, but “start getting better” lends me to believe he doesn’t expect his next start to necessarily be his best.
Jack Flaherty is a rookie pitcher with a 3-1 record and a better than league average ERA. That’s an automatic twitter like for me.
I’ve been tending to bet on rookie pitchers all year. Similarly to young QB’s exceeding their own expectations the past three years in the NFL, (Mahomes, Wentz, Rookie Watson & Mayfield), I like young, unproven pitchers for this reason. There seems to be an acceleration in the evolution of the sport that young players are grasping quicker than established veterans.
Think about how much more preparation and study younger players have at their disposal now than even 10 years ago. Not only is the technology for research better – the systems in place to teach them are continually expanding. Quarterbacks now attend quarterback camps all year – watching HS, College and Pro football with the intent to master the material. Pitchers, too, are now fully immersed in their chosen “profession” from the time that they and their families realize the dream is a possibility.
Cardinals were slightly cooled off yesterday in Washington, as the Nationals handed them their first loss in six games and only their second loss in the past two weeks. I like hot teams more without the gaudy win streak, personally.
The Cubs will be in the first home game back after a 4-1 road trip. I’ve heard handicappers fade teams in the first game back from a road trip in football, basketball and now baseball – and the theory makes sense to me. Finally home, take your shoes off – relax. The non-professional athlete part of their lives takes precedence for an extra half day.
I wonder why no one’s ever shown the data on this theory – tracking records for each sport on a first game back from an X amount of days road trip. Sometimes I get the feeling that showing such numbers would give me bookmakers license to shade the angle and take thus take away our edge. Let’s just call it our little secret handicapper’s for now.
I’ll take St. Louis to get a win in on the North Side this afternoon.
Washington Nationals +150 @ Philadelphia Phillies – 1 Unit
In a scorned-lover showdown, give me the aggrieved party to exact some vengeance on the road.
Former National, Bryce Harper will be the headline almost regardless of the result of this game. I think that fact distracts the Phillies more than the forgotten about Nationals in this one.
Another crazy trend that might be complete noise – but is pretty loud nonetheless:
Phillies are 1-10 in Eickhoffs last 11 Game-1 starts.
Phillies are 0-5 in last 5 Game-1’s of any series.
Do Phillies lack concentration when the venue or opponent changes? Do they get caught dreaming of their destiny? They definitely have the talent to win now – but I think they have a 2017 Philadelphia 76ers vibe. Dominant years highlighted by supremely talented squads are on the horizon again in Cheese-steak town.
Tomorrow on their minds, I get the feeling Phillies lose tonight.
Washington is 5-1 over last 6 in Philadelphia.
Chicago Cubs -1.5 1st Inning vs. St. Louis Cardinals +720 (Fan Duel) – 1 Unit
While I expect the Cardinals to win, the scenario in which I see them losing involves a rocking Wrigley early. As the calendar turns over to May, we have a balmy 49 degree day in the Windy City. Winds are blowing at 14 mph, northeast (i.e. out of the ball park). 49 degrees might seem cold, but it can actually be kind of pleasant on a sunny afternoon in spring in Chicago. The weather is complimented by the understanding that things are starting to turn around for the city this time of the year. Their baseball team – winners of 4 of 5 – may follow suit.
I could see the Cubs jack up a few early here. 2nd and 3rd batters for the Cubs, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo aren’t the MVP candidates they have been the past – yet. But they could still be All Star quality players by the end of the year. The duo might pounce on this rookie pitcher early and give him his first 0 IP – tail between his legs – shelling. That would feel like Summer-time Chi come early for the Wrigley faithful.