Here is a professional sports handicapper's review of each hurler and their MLB team's chances against the sportsbooks betting odds on Sunday, April 26th.
The theme of this sports handicapper's Pitcher’s Report is twofold: If you chose any of these teams over the last couple of days for MLB picks, you are looking for a winner to retrieve some cash. For the four clubs that are faced with the prospect of being swept, they too would prefer not be embarrassed and each individual starting pitcher will take it upon themselves to do what they can to have their team finish the series with a victory.
Can Gio Gonzalez Save the Nationals?
After scoring six runs a game over a six-game stretch, the Washington offense has again gone stone cold, batting .167 as a team in past five games and averaging 2.0 runs per contest, which has resulted in four consecutive losses. The Nationals are now tied with Miami at 7-11 and only one game ahead of Philadelphia in the National League East.
Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 3.45 ERA) has the assignment of leading his team to victory and he’s has been masterful during a five-start win streak versus Miami, posting a 1.13 ERA with 26 strikeouts over 32 innings. Those placing sports picks are showing faith in the lefthander and took Washington from -104 to -113 favorites. Key for Gonzalez, walks. Since 2013, when he has four less per start, he’s 21-13, when he reaches the four threshold, he and the Nats are 1-6.
Grade – C (For Washington)
Will the Brewers Mike Fiers Be Able to Cool the Cardinals?
Milwaukee righty Mike Fiers (0-3, 6.75) cannot worry about the big picture of his team at a sorry 3-15 and they are already 10 games behind St. Louis in the standings. Fiers has to concentrate on throwing strikes with his 90 MPH fastball and make certain his grip pressure creates the riding action he needs. Also, he arm motion and follow through has to be consistent for his curveball to have the necessary downward thrust.
Fiers will have a difficult mound opponent in Lance Lynn (1-1, 1.56), who leads the majors in April wins since 2012 with 13. The MLB Odds have the Brewers at +135 at Bovada and they have yet to win in eight tries against teams that walks three or less times a game.
Grade – F (For Milwaukee)
San Diego Needs Sterling Effort from Brandon Morrow
After the L.A. Dodgers were swept in San Francisco, the Padres knew they could be in first place in the NL West with their reformulated team. A popular choice among MLB baseball handicappers to show real improvement in 2015, San Diego has lost the first two games of the series to their rivals and four in a row altogether.
The Friars Brandon Morrow (0-0, 3.15) will be charge of making the proverbial bleeding stop if he can pitch well again at Petco Park (1.29 ERA in two starts) and find a way to contain the Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez, who is batting .449 with eight homers in a 11-game hit streak in the series.
The MLB odds have San Diego and Morrow as -120 home favorites and despite the right-hander having no decisions; the Padres have won all three of his starts. If Bud Black’s guys cannot ring up runs against L.A.’s journeyman starter Sam Baker, they deserve to lose.
Grade – C (For San Diego)
Can Oakland Rely on Drew Pomeranz to Avoid Home Sweep?
After a .500 road trip, Oakland was anxious to get back home and face Houston, having a 13-6 record against the Astros at the Coliseum the last two seasons. But Houston is a much proved team in many facets and was a surprise division leader coming into the series.
With the A’s having dropped the first two contests, the Astros will exit Oak-Town in first place also. Drew Pomeranz (1-2, 4.24) will to slow Houston, who has won six of seven and scored 14 total runs in the first two games. Pomeranz lacks a big fastball, but it does have good movement and throws a 10-to-4 curve, which breaks away from left-hand batters and into the hands of righties. Because these are his main two pitches, Pomeranz struggles when having to go through the batting order a third time.
He can help make the A’s a winner by retiring Jose Altuve, who has a personal 28-game hitting streak against the Athletics. Consider when making your MLB picks that Oakland is a -160 favorite, but the A’s starter is 0-2 in three starts versus Houston with a 7.30 ERA.
Grade – C (For Oakland)