Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 7/24/13

  • July 24, 2013

I got my biggest comeback win of the season on Tuesday night as the Dodgers rallied from what looked like it would probably be an insurmountable deficit to win against the Blue Jays. That made for a nice overall night, as what has been a very solid break out of the All-Star break gate continues.

The task for the Dodgers was made more difficult that it needed to be. Hopefully, manager Don Mattingly learned a valuable lesson in this game. That is, don’t bring Carlos Marmol into any game you have a chance to win. Marmol has no business in the big leagues right now. I had no problem with the Dodgers taking him off the hands of the Cubs. Send him to the minors, and if he shows over a decent sample size that he’s rediscovered his stuff, then bring him up. For reasons I am clearly too dumb to figure out, the Dodgers watched him for three games at Hi-A, and two more at AA, and somehow that was enough to warrant him being recalled. Send him back to the farm. Or at the very least, only use Marmol when no one else is available or when you’re hopelessly behind. Marmol simply cannot be trusted in any meaningful situation right now.

Aside from Marmol’s misadventures and Matt Kemp being unable to avoid getting hurt, everything is coming up roses for the Dodgers right now. I have to admit I did not foresee anything like this taking place, particularly as rapidly as it has. There’s a long way to go and we’ll have to see how the team responds when they hit a bump in the road, but right now the Dodgers are a freight train.

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The Tuesday free play on the Padres worked out nicely, and that game was also part of my final personal card. You can grab the full Wednesday slate, or try one week using the “buy now” feature on this page. Longer term packages, plus my early bird football info is yours by emailing me at cokin@cox.net.

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07/24 04:05 PM  MLB   (901) PITTSBURGH PIRATES (902) WASHINGTON NATIONALS

Take: (901) PITTSBURGH PIRATES

It serves them right. I really laid into Mike Rizzo and the Nationals brain trust last summer for what I will always insist was a complete mismanagement of Stephen Strasburg. That’s why I have to admit to some delight in watching this team pretty much fall on its face en route to being one of the biggest flops of the 2013 season.

I had no problem with the Nats being careful with Strasburg. The innings ceiling was fine. But had they had a little foresight, Strasburg could have been skipped on occasion, or perhaps even used in spots out of the pen. The end result would have been an available Strasburg come playoff time. Instead, he was done way too early and we all know what happened in the post-season. The Nats might have finished exactly the same way. But I’ll always believe they might just have won the entire ball of wax had Strasburg still been pitching.

2013 was supposed to be the big year for Washington. But this team has really never gotten it together. Things continue to go very badly for the Nationals. The offense just isn’t producing, and now the starting pitching is showing some vulnerability. There’s still time for this talented Washington team to get it together. But if the turnaround doesn’t take place soon, the Nats will be little more than an afterthought come September.

The Nats have Strasburg on the hill tonight as they attempt to get on the board after dropping two straight to the Pirates. I expect Strasburg to pitch well tonight. But given the Nationals season-long issues against southpaws, they figure to be held in check by Francisco Liriano.

Liriano is off a shaky outing last start, but in viewing that start, he was getting squeezed by the ump and that contributed to the less than stellar showing. I like Liriano to rebound here. The Pirates have also regained some needed momentum with three wins in a row, which should go a long way toward alleviating what was some building pressure.

The Bucs are going to have to make do without closer Jason Grilli for at least a little while, but this is still a very solid pen. This game is pretty much of a tossup on paper. So there’s value in the number on the road dog, and they’re in better form to boot. I’ll take the price tonight with the Pirates as my Wednesday free opinion.