A few weeks ago I wrote about how my favorite soccer team, Aston Villa,next season. I wrote about it because it was one of those moments that gets rarer and rarer for me as a sports fan. It was a moment in which I felt the same kind of joy and adulation I felt before I began to follow and cover sports professionally. It was great to feel that way again.
I felt it again on Tuesday night.
As a Chicagoan, it’s impossible to escape the Cubs-White Sox rivalry. It’s a rivalry that nearly everybody in the city will tell you doesn’t exist, even though it clearly does. As somebody who covers college football, it reminds me of the constant back-and-forth between Texas and Texas A&M fans as they tell each other they don’t care about each other while commenting on every single thing that happens to the other school’s program.
I’m a White Sox fan. It’s one of the few teams that still matter to me on a personal level. And I love to see them beat the Cubs. When they beat them in the fashion they did on Tuesday night, it’s even better.
Eloy Jimenez was one of the top Cubs prospects in their system when he was included in a trade to the White Sox for Jose Quintana. Jimenez then became a central figure in the ongoing White Sox rebuild, and on Tuesday night he made his first appearance at Wrigley Field. The stadium he thought he would be spending his career in.
He came up to the plate with the game tied 1-1 in the ninth inning and did this:
Jimenez’s bat broke on contact, by the way, and he still hit the ball 400 feet. It was a beautiful moment for a Sox fan, as it not only proved to be the game-winning home run, but Cubs fans — many of whom are still bitter about trading him away — had to wallow in the misery of being beaten by the player they gave away playing for the team they pretend not to care about.
It was beautiful.
All odds for tonight’s picks are via William Hill.
1. Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals: Marlins +165
I like the Marlins at this price, even if I’m not uber-confident in their starter Trevor Richards. This is more of a play against St. Louis starter Daniel Ponce de Leon. He may have an awesome name, but the 27-year old doesn’t have the highest prospect pedigree. He’s only rated as the No. 15 prospect in St. Louis’ system, and this will be his seventh MLB start.
The results through his first nine innings have been a mixed bag. His ERA is only 2.00, but his xFIP is 4.99, and his SIERA is 5.52. We shouldn’t take any of these numbers too seriously, as it’s a small sample size, but the former ninth-round pick has never been a high strikeout guy in the minors. He’s going against a Marlins offense that ranks dead last in the majors on the season in a lot of key categories, but it’s also an offense that has picked it up over the previous week.
SportsLine expert John Bollman has hit on 33 of his last 50 MLB moneyline picks, and he’s back Wednesday with three more best bets, including taking the Pirates at home. Head over to SportsLine to see the rest of his picks.
2. Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks: Over 8.5
This is somewhat of a contrarian play, as Zack Greinke will start for Arizona while Jon Gray toes the rubber for Colorado. Both have pitched well this season, but I think this total is a little too low. Greinke’s ERA is at 2.65, but his xFIP is at 3.66, and his SIERA is 3.85. Also, the BABIP against him on the season is only .238. Now, some of that is a result of Greinke being good at what he does, but it also suggests he’s been a little lucky, as his K-rate is just about league average. What Greinke has been phenomenal at is not walking hitters.
Meanwhile, he’ll be facing a Rockies offense that’s hitting well right now (it has a team wOBA of .409 over the last seven days, tied with Atlanta as best in the league). Which is why I’m also leaning towards the Rockies on the money line, but I don’t like that nearly as much as I like the over here.
The U.S. women haven’t been tested yet in the World Cup, but that could change against Sweden on Thursday. European soccer expert David Sumpter has analyzed the matchup, and you can see his moneyline and over/under picks over at SportsLine.
3. San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers: Giants +225
The Giants came through for me on Monday night, so I’m going back to the well again. I like this pick tonight for a lot of the same reasons I liked it on Monday. I think the Dodgers are extremely overvalued here, which is driving the Giants price to a place where we’re getting a lot of value.
While it’s scary to trust Giants starter Drew Pomeranz, his peripherals suggest he hasn’t pitched as poorly as his 6.43 ERA would suggest. Plus, even if they’re good against everybody and have been one of the best offenses in baseball, the Dodgers lineup fares better against righties than it does lefties. I’ll take another shot on the Giants here.
The NBA Draft is only a day away, and SportsLine oddsmakers have identified seven players whose names have been floated in trade rumors recently and assigned yes or no odds to whether or not they’ll be traded at the 2019 NBA Draft. Check them out here.