In a battle of two teams headed opposite directions, the Pirates feature the 3rd best record in MLB, while Miami is tied with Philly for the 2nd worst record in MLB. Find the best value pick inside.
Pittsburgh Pirates (Morton) vs. Miami Marlins (Hand) 7:10 ET
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins continue the 2nd of their early week set with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 ET. In a battle of two teams headed opposite directions, the Pirates feature the 3rd best record in MLB, while Miami is tied with Philly at 50-75 for the 2nd worst record in MLB. Pittsburgh enters on positive runs of 57-25, including 22-8. As well, the Pirates have won 5 consecutive road games and are on runs of 11-2 and 6-0 in this series. Miami, meanwhile, is on slides of 9-19, including 0-4 recently, in which they have plated just 5 total runs with a sub .200 BA. In an article I authored earlier today, entitled “THE DOG DAYS OF AUGUST … MAKE YOUR BANKROLL ROBUST,” I point out just how such super-surger vs. towel-tosser matchups have resulted in 87.5% WINNERS ON THE RUN LINE. More about that in a moment!
Injuries to their everyday starters, along with missing 3 of their best starting pitchers, has been a major factor in the Marlins failing to meet expectations this season. Anyone who watched their lethargic performance last night understands they have tossed the towel. There is a glimmer of hope with Hand on the mound for Miami, as in 16 appearances on this mound, Hand has a 2.31 ERA. Doubtful, however, that he slows a potent Pirate attack, who could have broken the game wide open on several occasions last night. Miami will struggle to keep pace with a .682 OPS (ranked No. 29th in the league).
Though the Pirates are playing over .600 ball at 75-48 (first time they have been 27 games over .500 since 1992), there is still plenty of motivation. They continue to trail St. Louis by 4 games in the division race and are looking to fend off the Chicago Cubs over whom they hold a 3-game lead for the host position in the Wild Card game. Charlie Morton has a strong history against Miami with a 3-0 record and 2.25 ERA in 4 starts. More importantly is the fundamentals of tonight’smatchup. With a devastating sinker and a quickly improving curve ball, Morton has the 4th best ground ball ratio in MLB. That style of attack is perfectly suited for a Miami team who has more ground ball outs than any team in MLB.
We play the run line today with our MLB picks, knowing that 5 of the worst teams in the National League (Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Milwaukee and Colorado) have gone 8-56 (12.5%) on the run line when installed as underdog in the month of August. Furthermore, with last night’s (5-2) home loss, 28 of 34 Miami home defeats have come by 2 or more runs. Lay the runs with the Pirates with confidence tonight.
MLB Picks: Pirates -1 ½ R/EVEN