Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 6/21/14

  • June 21, 2014

If you were looking for entertainment, Friday night’s baseball schedule provided a few week’s worth in the space of a few hours. This was insanity, replete with amazing rallies, spectacular defense and some of the worst relief pitching imaginable. I’m not going to use this space to recap everything as better details can be found elsewhere. But suffice to say this was about as wild as it gets.

The topper was the incredible Blue Jays rally from an 8-0 deficit to stun the Reds. Teams leading by 8+ runs were 1158-6 over the last five years. Make that 1158-7 with this shocker. I think everything else takes a back seat, although from a personal standpoint my favorite was the Ozuna missile from left field to home plate on the fly to beat the Mets and get me a winner with the Marlins.

I’m too wiped out from the action to come up with a decent topic tonight, so I’ll just review my night. I went 3-2 on my sides, but decided to combo the Indians and Twins, so I finished the night 2-2, and earned a whopping 3/100 of a unit profit. And I’ll take it, as this was a night where a bunch of sharp bettors were seriously burned with all the crazy late game swings.

The guaranteed monthly special is still available, and while it’s billed as my June Baseball Special, it’s a full 31 day package. There’s a great guarantee that comes with this subscription, so I’ll definitely suggest sending an email my way at cokin@cox.net.

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I have no idea what Terry Francona’s fascination with John Axford is, so there’s now way I can explain why he keeps using the shopworn ex-closer in close games. That decision sure cost the Indians on Friday night, although I’ll also say that Rick Porcello outpitched Corey Kluber, so no beefs about taking a loss on that side. I’m on the same matchup for the Saturday comp regardless.

06/21 04:15 PM  MLB  (925) DETROIT TIGERS  (926) CLEVELAND INDIANS

Take: (926) CLEVELAND INDIANS -125

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Justin Verlander’s recent problems getting batters out is being attributed to “easily correctable” mechanical issues that Verlander needs to make. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones claim they’ve spotted the errors on video and now it’s just a matter of tweaking before Verlander is back to normal.

They might be right, but I’m going to need proof. I lost count long ago on the number of times I’ve heard precisely this explanation for a pitcher who has been getting torched. The one thing I can safely say is that the repair is usually anything but “easily correctable” and the bad outings frequently continue. Maybe Verlander is the exception, as we are talking about one of the best hurlers in the game over the past decade. But I’m not buying there’s going to be anything “easy” about this correction.

Verlander in top form has never found the going easy at Progressive. This ballpark has largely been a nightmare for Verlander. He’ll also be facing a Cleveland entry that has done significant damage to righties all season, and the Tribe are expected to have Michael Brantley back in the lineup tonight. Brantley had to sit a few days with a very mild concussion, but he got back on the field as a pinch hitter last night and delivered a single in the bottom of the ninth.

The Indians are throwing Trevor Bauer tonight, and while he can look great at times with an occasionally dazzling array of pitches, Bauer is still prone to making critical errors and also losing his command. The Tigers are a dangerous offensive entry and Bauer will have his work cut out for him tonight.

I’m giving Bauer a very small edge over Verlander. I’m not actually expecting much from the Detroit star, but I have little faith in Bauer. But I like the Indians offense a little more playing at home, and I also prefer their bullpen. That’s, of course, assuming we don’t get another Axford sighting tonight. The early number on this game was too low and was bet up by sharp early bettors. But it’s still acceptable to me at -125 and assuming the lineups are what they’re projected to be, I’m looking at the Indians to even up the series tonight.