By The Last Hollywood Star
Last night’s baseball news included two interesting items about Major League pitchers with ERA’s over 8.00
They are Hall of Fame bound John Smoltz and Pittsburgh Pirate cast off Ian Snell.
Smoltz, 8.33 during his few appearances with the Boston Red Sox, signed on with the St. Louis Cardinals, apparently destined not for mop up assignments as his ERA would indicate, but to be the team’s fifth starter. He’s penciled in to make his first Cardinal appearance on Sunday against the San Diego Padres.
What so amazing about Smoltz’s rebirth is that the Cards are in the midst of close pennant race. As of Thursday, the team is four games up on Chicago.
Boston went 2-6 in the games Smoltz started. If Smoltz performs the same for the Cards, that would erase their current lead. Smoltz represents a big gamble for the Cards.
But the Seattle Mariners took an even bigger gamble by sending the enigmatic former Pirate Ian Snell with his 8.48 ERA to the mound in Detroit against the league leading Tigers. Snell faced one of the American League’s best pitchers and its strike out leader Justin Verlander.
In his last two starts, Snell had given up 11 runs in 7-1/3 innings.
The result when one of baseball’s worst pitchers faced off on the road against one of the best? Seattle 3, Detroit 1. Although Snell lasted a mere 5- 1/3 innings, he gave up only one run and lowered his ERA to 6.63
Las Vegas bookmakers, who really know about gambling, may have been the most surprised. The odds going into last night’s Mariner-Tiger game were prohibitive, an astronomical 240-280.
In other words if you thought the Tigers would win (as most people did), you had to put your money where you mouth is and lay $280 to win $50.
If, however, you thought Snell could pull it off (and who among Pirates fans would have staked money on that?), then your $50 wager would have returned you a handsome $240
As any major league manager will tell you, in baseball you never know.