No matter how much it shouldn’t be the case, it’s always a little easier to feel good about a pick when it follows a W, especially when we’re talking about the first play of the season. The Pads and Phils had us sweating a little harder than I anticipated but then again I hadn’t realized Fernando Rodney saves games for San Diego now. A flying arrow winner has to be a good omen to start the campaign. We’ll go to one of Rodney’s old stomping grounds tonight where two terrific young arms will face off.
It’s been nine days since Drew Smyly served up three home runs against the mighty Toronto Blue Jays at the Trop. But while it might seem like I’m making an awfully big exception here, the kid pitched pretty darn well against one of the game’s most challenging lineups on starting pitchers when you look past the three long balls. He managed to pitch into the seventh inning, giving up only three other hits and a single walk. And if a gopher ball problem is recurring, it’s something new for the 26-year-old lefty. Smyly has only given up so many home runs in one of his other 55 career starts. And you’ll struggle to find anybody using the word “mighty” to describe the Cleveland Indians’ lineup, certainly at the moment.
Cleveland will still be without the guy who makes them go, that being Michael Brantley. Such is good news for any pitcher set to face the Indians and, despite the lefty-lefty matchup, it’s especially good news for Smyly who has been knocked around by Brantley in 15 career PA’s. Otherwise, Smyly has had success against the rest of the lineup – including Rajai Davis and Jason Kipnis, who are my biggest concern as far as Smyly keeping Cleveland down goes. If the lefty can keep the table-setters in the dugout when Francisco Lindor comes to the plate, he should bounce back in a spot where he’ll be extra vigilant after the triad of round-trippers last time. The extra days of rest after being rained out on Sunday might not play a big role this early in the season, but it definitely doesn’t hurt.
It feels a bit criminal to write this one up without a single mention of Carlos Carrasco on the other side. But Smyly is my guy to back here and I’m going under on the Tribe’s team total.
Free Pick: Cleveland Under 3.5 -110
YTD: 1-0 +1.00
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02