The weather is starting to warm up and so are my picks as I hit with Hamels and the Fightin' Phils last night as the chalk prevailed. Tonight we look at a hot Pittsburgh Pirates club that's won 3 in a row and are contending for the NL Central lead as they host the Minnesota Twins who currently reside in the AL Central basement.
MLB betting odds have the Pirates as a -122 betting favorite and the betting total for this game is 8 runs.
The temperature across the East Coast has risen. We can possibly see a high scoring game and look for the ball to carry, especially with the poor pitching of Erik Bedard and Francisco Liriano.
On this first day of summer, we can might see a lot of offense as the starting pitching matchup leaves a lot to be desired. Lefty Erik Bedard was once a highly regarded pitcher, thought to have a bright future. A few teams and many years later, it's clear that's he simply journeyman.
Bedard's poor performance in his last outing against Baltimore has really taken it's toll on his numbers. Bedard went 3 1/3 innings and gave up 7 runs on 8 hits. He's been inconsistent, but that one performance sent his ERA from 3.59 to 4.36. With Bedard, you simply don't know what you're going to get. He can pitch 7 scoreless innings or get lit up for 6 runs by the 3rd inning and call it an early day.
Having said that, the Pirates still have the pitching edge as Twins starter Francisco Liriano has been an outright disaster this season. Liriano is part of the reason why the Twins are such a poor team with his 1-7 record and 6.24 ERA.
Liriano started the season as a starter, was ineffective, and then pitched sparingly. Liriano was given the starting role back and, after one bad performance against Detroit on May 25th, he's started 4 games and in 23 2/3 innings has given up just 8 runs on 12 hits. The Twins bullpen will need to be effective because, even on a good day, Liriano won't go more than 6 innings.
What you have here are two very inconsistent pitchers, so this game will come down to the hitting.
Looking at the Pirates' ship, we see that they're near the bottom in most offensive categories and are average defensively at best. What's keeping this team afloat, er, over .500, so to speak? The answer is superstar Andrew McCutchen.
Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen isn't large in stature at just 5 foot 10, 175 pounds, but his ability to produce carries tons of weight. This is a 5-tool player that can run, hit for average and hit for power. There's no weaknesses to his game.
On the season, McCutchen has 12 HR, 39 RBI, .332 BA, and 14 SB. He's a career .444 with 2 HR and 4 RBI in 18 at-bats against the Twinkies and is 2 for 4 off of Liriano with 1 HR and 2 RBI. This guy has really emerged on the scene. In his last 3 games, McCutchen is 7 for 14 with 1 HR and 2 RBI. Just call him the captain of the Pirates' ship and look for another good game from the man sporting the dreads.
First of all, this title describing Minnesota native and catcher Joe Mauer is a falacy. Mauer did win a batting title, but, in my mind, he's a vastly overrated player. At one point, people were comparing him to Derek Jeter. That's a total joke.
Mauer is also injury prone and might have to sit this game out with a quadricep injury.
There's really not much to look forward to if you're a Twins fan or bettor. They rank near the bottom of most offensive and defensive categories. the best thing to do is to either wait for the Minnesota Vikings season as you can check out in my blog or fade them. You can't possibly be confident in picking this team even most of the time where they're set at a good price.
I happen to think that the odds makers should've made the Buckos a larger favorite.
Let's try to see if there are some redeemable qualities about the current team besides Mauer (hurt), Span (no power), Morneau (was once good), and Doumit (inconsistent). Okay, folks, enough sarcasm; let's lighten it up a little bit."From parts unknown"
that old pro wrestling saying to make a wrestler sound scary, different, or unusual. I consider Trevor Plouffe to be "from parts unknown" because he's really picked up his hitting as of late out of nowhere. There aren't many opportunities to knock in runs as a Twin, but Plouffe has managed to smash 14 homers; he only has 24 RBI, however. You won't see that too often.
Plouffe has hit safely in 9 out of his last 10 games. In those games, he's 17 for 37 with 7 HR and 12 RBI. This is a player who's really burst upon the major league and fantasy scene. It's definitely possible that Plouffe could get to Bedard in this game - yet another reason why I can see this as a high scoring game.
Outcome of the game
I'm not a big proponent of parlays in the long run. I like both the total and the side in this game and I'm going to play it safe as I'm on a mini 3 game winning streak. Pittsburgh has momentum and is simply the better team and at home. Both starting pitchers are vulnerable. I like the Pirates moneyline and OVER the total in this contest
Wednesday's winning picks: Pittsburgh -122 and OVER 8