The entire free world seems to be on both home teams today from a sides perspective: Braves and Rangers.
And, probably for good reason.
Cardinals/Braves: Medlen has been absolutely lights out on the mound for Atlanta in the second half (and the Braves tend to put up runs at a good clip when he pitches). But, Lohse is no slouch either, and the Cardinals have definitely "been there, done that" in regards to big-time pressure spots in the postseason. Though, obviously, St. Louis is missing some guy named Albert in the line-up this year (and no La Russa, either).
And, the Braves did win the season series with St. Louis 5-1.
Sets up to be a real pitchers duel on paper. Nip and tuck throughout. Semper does like the UNDER 7 in this match-up after all
Orioles/Rangers: On paper, this appears to be a HUGE pitching advantage for Texas. While Darvish was arguably the Rangers best pitcher in the second half, Saunders has been the definition of mediocre since joining the O's, and he's been absolutely terrible in his career at Rangers Ballpark (0-6...9.38 ERA in six starts).
Not to mention, the Orioles are the only American League team that has never faced Darvish. You'd think that'd be a huge feather in the cap for the pitcher, though it is Darvish's MLB postseason debut.
If you believe in chemistry/karma, you'd have to think the Orioles come into this match-up with a bit more positive vibes. Regardless of what happens tonight, Baltimore has exceeded all expectations by a mile. The pressure is definitely not on the O's...in a lot of ways they're playing with house money at this point.
The same cannot be said for the Rangers. Almost everybody's pick to represent the American League in the World Series before the season, their free-fall down the stretch to lose the AL West was shocking and eye-opening across the board. You'd think their massive playoff experience (back to back World Series appearances), would be a major asset to Texas tonight, but there's no doubt about it: all of the pressure rests squarely on the Rangers. And, who knows what their mindset is after the collapse in Oakland?
The Rangers did win the season series versus the Orioles 5-2, however.
Having said all of that, for some reason, I truly believe one of the road dogs gets it done today. Probably a gut feeling, but I'm considering taking the Cardinals (+155) in the early game.
If St. Louis hits, I'll call it a day. If not, I'll take a chance with Orioles (+175...or whatever the line is around gametime). A split does yield a decent profit.
PTO/Awdamaddix/KingGeorge....anybody else like the idea of playing BOTH dogs? Cardinals first, then if needed, Orioles? I feel like that's where the value lies in today's match-ups, with the Road Dogs, and especially considering the different start times allows a play on the Cardinals before having to submit (or not submit) a play on the Orioles. But, what do I know?
Thanks for any feedback/input. BOL today, fellas