Wednesday’s Results: 1-2
All-Time Results: 20-21-1, -3.1 Units
Chicago Cubs +138 @ Washington Nationals
Cole Hamels vs. the past his prime Max Scherzer
Cubs starter Cole Hamels is off to a great start of the season, while Nationals starter Max Scherzer has shown signs of decline. Both are about the same age and Scherzer has not been the Cy Young candidate he has been perennially over the last half decade. The pitching match-up is close enough and the Cubs are so much better everywhere else that they should not be underdogs.
Hamels 6-1 in last 7 starts for Chicago.
Nats are 2-7 when Scherzer starts for the season, 0-5 when he starts at home.
Last time Scherzer had a 2-7 or worse stretch was July 2nd to August 28th, 2015
Nats record when Scherzer starts
Is it just noise? Or is there something fundamentally different?
He is in his 35th year, an age where many great pitchers begin to decline. Take Adam Wainwright for example. Wainwright did not have an ERA above 3 from ages 31-33. From 34-37 he did not have an ERA below 4.5.
Scherzer told the Washington post that not only did he expect not to decline in his 12th Major League Season,, but actually expected to be better.
“I have my private reasons”, he said.
Given his rough start to the season, even Max himself may be beginning to question his secret sauce.
Their aces recent struggles highlights the National’s general malaise. They seem to miss Bryce Harper’s star power even more than his production. They don’t seem especially purpose driven. They aren’t bottoming out and they aren’t ascending. They’re just out there.
Philadelphia Phillies -118 vs. Colorado Rockies – 1 Unit
Despite some success at Fenway Park this week, the road batting numbers for the Rockies remain abysmal: .217 team batting on the road, .653 OPS.
I like the Phillies lefty rookie, Cole Ervin to keep the Rockies ice cold on the road.
After stellar work in the minor leagues this season – (2.25 ERA, 5/6 Quality Starts) – Ervin got the nod for his professional debut earlier this month and he did not disappoint, going 7 innings allowing only 5 hits, 1 walk and 1 earned run. Look for him to be a legitimate MLB pitcher going forward, likely on par if not better than the up and down Jon Gray of the Rockies.
If these pitchers are close to equal, than I’ll gladly pit the talent of the NL East leading Phillies over this Rockies team.
Expect max motivation from a Phillies team on a season long three game losing streak.
Boston Red Sox +125 vs. Houston Astros
More of a macro play here. The Astros – winners of 10 of their last 11 – are flying high, after knocking the stuffing out of the Rangers and the Tigers in consecutive sweeps. The Red Sox, on the other hand, were just getting their footing in the AL East race when they dropped two very winnable games against the Rockies. In a battle of the past two World Series Champions, I look for the down & out team to take this contest that much more seriously. They should not be underdogs at home. Too much value to pass up.