Due to time constraints this evening, I'm going the ultra-brief route with the blog this time. Just a quick recap of Tuesday's plays and my Wednesday comp selection.
I split on Tuesday, losing a Red Sox/Blue Jays parlay, but winning in a breeze with Tyler Skaggs and the Angels, The Halos were also the daily free play. Wish they were all that easy! Here's my Wednesday comp, and note this is a day game at Fenway Park.
TIGERS (Fulmer) at RED SOX (Rodriguez)
Take: TIGERS +105
There's a pretty definite starting pitcher edge for the Tigers with star rookie Michael Fulmer going against Boston lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
Fulmer should be the favorite here based on my work. He'll still occasionally make a mistake that costs him, but his stuff is good enough so that even when he misses the target, he's often able to get by regardless.
Rodriguez is showing signs of life after struggling badly returning from his leg injury. I don't think he was at full strength, as he seemed to ...
New blood! Two exciting newcomers made their big league debuts on Monday evening. Alex Bregman, who has skyrocketed through the Astros system, narrowly missed a grand slam in his first major league game. David Dahl registered the first hit of his career as the Rockies lost in extras to the Orioles.
These two have future star labels firmly in place, and there's no need for me to extol their virtues here. Instead, I'll focus on what the presence of each player means right now.
Bregman is going to get time at third base right now, but the anticipation is that he'll be patrolling left field once Yulieski Gourriel finishes shaking off the rust in his minor league rehab. I have no idea how long that will take as he hasn't played competitively for some time now. But once he's ready, Gourriel figures to be playing for Houston on an everyday basis, and third base looks like the only open spot.
That Houston lineup is going to be downright frightening down the stretch, and if the Astros ...
If the reports are on target, a big deal between the Yankees and Cubs is about to take place. Aroldis Chapman, clearly the top closer on the market, appears to be heading to the Cubs with the Yankees obtaining perhaps the top Cubs prospect and more in return.
There isn't any question Chapman would be a huge boost to the Cubs bullpen. He is as dominant as it gets with the triple digit heat and Chapman would immediately shore up one of the very few potential liabilities for the Cubs come playoff time.
The Yankees being in sell mode is strange to be sure, but it's absolutely necessary. This is not a playoff team presently, and the farm system continues to be less than formidable in terms of legit major league prospects. Gleyber Torres would likely ascend to the very top of the organization's top prospect list, ahead of both Jorge Mateo and Gary Sanchez. Interestingly, Torres and Mateo are each at shortstop in Hi-A ball this season, so one would assume that a position change will ...
The Del Mar vacation has concluded, and it was mission accomplished as far as getting refreshed from the daily grind is concerned. I even managed to garner a net profit at the racetrack, although I think it's safe to say the small plus on the ponies wasn't exactly life changing. Great trip, can't wait to visit that wonderful little slice of heaven on earth again soon.
Meanwhile, we're closing in on the non-waiver trading deadline in baseball, and things got really weird on Saturday evening. Chris Sale was a late scratch from his scheduled start for the White Sox against the Tigers. The initial explanation was that he was a flu bug victim, but no one seemed to believe that. Speculation then began that the Chisox might have a deal pending, as it's no secret that GM Rick Hahn has gone into sell mode and no one on the roster is untouchable.
But what turned out to be the apparent actual reason Sale was scratched and banished from the clubhouse was downright bizarre. Sale allegedly ...
I'll be heading to Del Mar for my annual summer sojourn where the surf meets the turf. Regular blogs will return on Saturday, July 23 or Sunday, July 24 at the latest. In the interim, I will still be posting my daily free plays here, but will not be including any analysis. My keyboard rates a vacation as well.
Free play for Saturday 7/23/16
METS (deGrom) at MARLINS (Fernandez)
Take: MARLINS -1 (-153 ML/+155 RL)
Good luck! Regular blog returns late Saturday evening.
And the winners are...the Houston Astros. The Yulieski Gourriel sweepstakes was concluded on Friday as the Astros signed the coveted Cuban star to a five year deal for a whole bunch of money.
I really don't know where Gourriel will end up playing for Houston. His best position is third base, currently the domain of Luis Valbuena. Alex Bregman's rapid ascension through the farm system further complicates matters, as he looks to be big league ready already. Carlos Correa is currently at shortstop, and he's obviously staying in the lineup, although there's some question as to whether it'll be Bregman or Correa at shortstop long term. One or the other will slide over to third base.
So the question now is what do the Astros do with Valbuena. I guess he's either going to move across the diamond to first base or get traded. As for Gourriel, once Bregman is with the big club, logic suggests Yulieski heads to a corner outfield spot. AJ Reed would probably end up platooning with Evan ...
The Boston Red Sox are one of several teams vying for a spot in the playoffs come October. Whether or not they make it remains to be seen. But if the team falls short, it won't be for lack of effort by the front office.
Dave Dombrowski has been dealing, and if nothing else, he has certainly beaten his rivals to the punch in terms of making what were deemed necessary maneuvers. Boston had already added a platoon infielder and a veteran bullpen piece prior to the All-Star break.
Obtaining Aaron Hill and Brad Ziegler turned out to be little more than a prelude for the first big deal of the pre-deadline trading period. Boston pulled the trigger on a significant swap on Thursday, moving prized prospect Anderson Espinoza to the Padres in return for lefty hurler Drew Pomeranz.
Espinoza is extremely well regarded among those who grade prospects. The numbers at Greenville in the Sally League aren't especially impressive, but Espinoza is only 18 years old and his stuff has drawn rave ...
Next edition will be this Friday, July 15 as baseball action returns following the All-Star break.
Hers's a quick rundown on the blog schedule for the next two weeks. I've got my Home Run Derby guess in this edition. Next blog will be available late Thursday evening, as baseball action resumes following the All-Star break.
Next week is my annual Del Mar journey, where I will undoubtedly contribute to the local economy, but will do so with a smile. I will be posting daily free plays here, but there won't be any writeups, just the plays.
Regular columns will begin again on Saturday, July 23, and at that point I'll start to do some college football previews in addition to the daily free play.
Feel free to email me anytime regarding personal service inquiries at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, here's the Home Run Derby play.
WIL MYERS +600
Myers is the sixth seed in this eight-man event. There's no analysis here, other than that he's obviously familiar with the surroundings. Maybe that's a plus, as Todd Frazier was a home town hero in this event last year.
That's it for ...
It's break time! I'll have a brief Monday blog with my annual Home Run Derby guess. That will do it till baseball resumes following the All-Star break. I will definitely not be playing that game.
As for Sunday, I generally keep it very light on the final day before the break. Lots of the players have their minds more on their mini-break than they do on baseball, the games are frequently managed a little differently, and it's just a day where form frequently goes out the window.
But I do have a play I made today that I'd like to share, and it's on the upcoming British Open Championship.
Take: DUSTIN JOHNSON +900
I love the British Open. I enjoy the time differential that allows me to watch live golf in the middle of the night. I like the links courses, the frequently unpredictable weather, and the atmosphere at this wonderful event.
This year, I also like one of the favorites to keep his red hot roll intact. Dustin Johnson is playing some amazing golf ...
They're each lefties. Both have had tough times, with injuries playing a significant role. But the first half of the 2016 campaign has seen these two veteran pitchers excel, in spite of flying somewhat under the radar thanks to being on weaker teams. Now this duo is hot stuff as far as being candidates to be heading to a contender with the trade deadline approaching.
Rich Hill and Drew Pomeranz are the two southpaws described above, and Athletics and Padres are the two teams that figure to be fielding some pretty good offers over the next few weeks.
Hill is an amazing story, as he was pretty much out of baseball not so long ago. But everything has come together for him this year in Oakland, and I don't think there's much question the Red Sox sure wish he was still pitching in Boston. Hill is now 9-3 with some sensational peripherals and even with his checkered past thanks to all the injuries, he's a major target at this point. Hill is 36, so I don't know how much he can command ...
Quick edition today, as I'm passing on the commentary portion.
Thursday produced a tiny gain at worst. I lost my BC play in the CFL. The Over in the Winnipeg-Hamilton game was fortunately played early in the week when the Total was at either 51.5 or 52, so no worse than a push there. That one looked like a snap as it was on 52 heading to the fourth quarter, but no more points went on the board thanks to a slew of turnovers. My only baseball plays worked out nicely as the underdog Padres spanked the Dodgers. So +1.1 for those who got the good number on the O/U, +0.1 for those who pushed.
Here's my Friday free play, and I'll be going with the ML/RL combo here.
TIGERS (Pelfrey) @ BLUE JAYS (Happ)
Take: BLUE JAYS -1 (-165 ML/+115 RL)
It's official. The Blue Jays are hot. They've gotten the sticks going, the pitching continues to be better than what many expected, and this team is right back in the thick of things in the AL East.
Mike Pelfrey doesn't figure as the guy who ...