Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 6/19/14
Lots of excitement at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night as the best pitcher in the game made some history. Clayton Kershaw was utterly dominant in a no-hitter against the Rockies. Only an errant throw by Hanley Ramirez on what should have been a relatively easy out kept this from being a perfect game. This wasn’t just a no-hitter, it was literally one of the best games ever pitched. Kershaw was indeed that good.
Don’t look now, but the Dodgers are closing that gap between themselves and the Giants. San Francisco has hit a speed bump lately, and while I don’t think anyone can expect another 42-8 rampage as we saw last season from the Dodgers, it’s starting to look like this team is now making its move.
As for Kershaw, I don’t know how it’s possible to not like this guy. You can bet that Kershaw is a very confident athlete, but he has never felt the need to shove that down the throats of the media and fans. If you’re looking for the ultimate level-headed superstar, that’s Kershaw. Even those who can’t stand the Dodgers should have lots of admiration and respect for this sensational talent. And watching him work his craft is a privilege.
1-2 for me on Wednesday, with an easy O/U winner, a bad call on the Pirates and a very frustrating loss on the Mariners. Seattle had chances to put some runs on the board against Andrew Cashner, but could only muster one in the second inning. When the Mariners failed to get anything out of a man on third with none out situation in the sixth inning, I pretty much knew what was coming next. Sure enough, the Padres somehow scratched out a couple of runs and that was the ballgame. By the way, as miserable as their offense is, the Padres are now a remarkable 14-7 in one-run games. Give this extremely limited team credit for winning most of the one they have a chance to win.
There are two games I like quite a bit on the Thursday slate, and they’ve already been sent to my players. Get all my plays every day, released as I make the wagers myself, as my monthly guaranteed special is still on the table. I’m quite sure this is the best guarantee you’ll find anywhere. Get all the details by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terrible call on the Pirates as the Wednesday comp. Edinson Volquez was awful and the game was basically toast in a hurry. I’ll turn to a pitcher who has been nails in road games all season for the Thursday free play.
06/19 04:05 PM MLB (915) TORONTO BLUE JAYS (916) NEW YORK YANKEES
Take: (915) TORONTO BLUE JAYS -115
Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde. Drew Hutchison has been a split personality this season for the Blue Jays. He’s great on the road and as ugly as it gets at home. The numbers are pretty amazing, actually.
Hutchison is a total gas can in Toronto. In five starts at Rogers, Hutchison is 1-3 with a disastrous 8.72/1.89 ERA/WHIP combo. But when Hutch takes the mound on the road, he turns into an All-Star caliber hurler. Nine starts, a 4-1 record, the team is 7-2 and Hutchison’s ERA/WHIP checks in at 1.70/0.74. There’s really no rational explanation I can arrive at for these remarkable splits, but the bottom line is that Hutchison is go with when he wears the road uni and a fade machine north of the border.
David Phelps will make the start for the Yankees tonight, and the righty was very solid in his last outing. However, the same cannot be said for the three previous Phelps starts. The key for Phelps is his control. When he avoids walks, he can be effective. But when Phelps issues the free passes, it often leads to crooked innings. I’m still not sure whether Phelps is best suited to starting or relieving. Fact is, the Yankees are sure themselves, which probably explains why he works both roles.
Toronto has not snapped out its recent hitting slump. The Jays were due for some regression following a ridiculous offensive surge, but they’re now at the point where they could use a breakout game. Season numbers definitely would favor the Jays here, but current hitting form tilts toward the Yankees. The same can be said for the respective bullpens as the road team has better full season stats, but more recent stats favor the Yankees.
This is mostly about backing the hot hand, or in this case the hot road arm of Drew Hutchison. I also don’t mind taking a shot against Phelps off a really good start, as he’s not the most consistent guy around. The price isn’t great but it’s acceptable, and I will side with the Blue Jays to salvage the series finale and avoid the sweep.