Sunday afternoon baseball and I will have a Free Pick in the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Mets, which will be played at Citi Field in New York. First pitch is scheduled for a 1:10 PM (Eastern) start time and the game will be televised locally.
Over/ Under: 7.5 O -130
This is game 3 of a 3 game series between these National League foes. Game 1 of this series went to the Mets, while game 2 was suspended yesterday in the 7th inning with the game tied at 1-1. The Reds have been playing better of late as they have won 6 of their last 8 games, but they are still 15 games back in the NL Central. The Mets have not been playing good ball of late and have fallen to 3.5 games behind the Nats in the AL East.
The Reds rank 17th in scoring (4.09 rpg), 19th in hitting (.248) and 6th in homers (84), while on the mound they are 16th in ERA (3.97) and 18th in WHIP (1.29). New York ranks 27th in scoring (3.60 rpg), 29th in hitting (.236) and 18th in homers (63), while on the mound they are 8th in ERA (3.61) and 8th in WHIP (1.22).
Getting the ball for Cincinnati today will be Joshua Smith, who has just 1 start on the year and lost that game 7-6 to Philadelphia, allowing 4 ERs in 3 innings of work in the process. That was his first career start.
Toeing the rubber for the Mets today will be Steven Matz, who will be making his first career major league start. For the Las Vegas 51s this year he was 7-4 with a 2.19 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) this year.
Pick: I will go with the Mets in this one. I have heard good thins about Matz and he does have the advantage of having never faced the Reds. He was super in the Minors and will be taking on a reds team that really struggles to score on the road. The Mets are no offensive machine and they haven't faced Joshua Smith either, but still Smith did struggle in his first league start and that was also vs a bad offense (Philly). I expect the Mets to take this one.
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In Defense of Pete Rose
A recent ESPN Outside the Lines piece revealed Pete Rose did more than just bet on baseball--he bet on the Cincinnati Reds aka the Big Red Machine during hist stint as player/manager. Since Rose never bet against his baseball team, pro bettors Teddy Covers and Steve Fezzik come to his defense, pointing out he never fixed games like, say, the Chicago Black Sox did. Comparing to other athletes who bet on sports, his lifetime ban from baseball and the Hall of Fame seems pretty harsh compared to the one-year ban of football player Alex Karas. In short, the sports world is being way too harsh on one of the great players of the game.