Better Pitching Makes ‘Under’ The MLB Pick In Braves vs. Pirates

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 5:49 PM GMT

After both teams exceeded tonight’s posted total by themselves as the Pirates beat the Braves 12-9 last night, make ‘under’ your MLB pick with a better pitching matchup Wednesday.

 

MLB Record: 23-22-1, +4.32

Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
After two high scoring games to begin this series, look for a return to normalcy with much fewer runs scored Wednesday night when right-hander Julio Teheran and the lowly Atlanta Braves (9-29, 7-12 away) pay a visit to southpaw Francisco Liriano and the Pittsburgh Pirates (16-22, 10-11 home) in the third game of a four-game set from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 7:05 ET in a game available on ROOT. The posted total at Bovada is 7 for this contest with the current MLB odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.

 

Anomalous Offense This Series So Far
While it is no surprise the Pirates have won the first two games of this series, the high scores have been with Pittsburgh winning 8-5 and 12-9 respectively. You see, the Braves were expected to be offensively challenged before the season with a lineup consisting of one legitimate star in Freddie Freeman and a bunch of youngsters, and in fact they still remain dead last in the Major Leagues with their 3.24 runs per game while ranking 28th in batting at .233.

Thus, do not expect the fireworks of the past two nights to continue for an Atlanta team that is off to one of the worst starts in Major League history at 9-29 after 38 games.

The Pirates meanwhile are in second place in the National League Central at 21-17 and they are still within shouting distance of the team with the best record in baseball, trailing those 27-10 Chicago Cubs by 6½ games. The Bucs have now been the winning MLB picks in three consecutive games as they concluded their last road trip with a 2-1 wins over those Cubs in Chicago prior to this series with Atlanta.

Teheran a Legitimate Ace
Aside for Freeman, perhaps the next best thing the Braves have going for them right now is their ace Teheran, who must feel like a wily veteran given the age of most of his teammates despite being only 25 years old himself. And Teheran is a legitimate ace that can start for any team, as ever since a rough start in Washington way back on April 14th, he has now allowed two earned runs or less in five straight starts including allowing one earned run or less four times!

Thus it is a travesty that Teheran is still seeking his first win of the season at 0-4, but such is life when you have a punchless offense supporting you, with the first two games of this series notwithstanding. The fact of the matter is that Julio has a 3.17 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a nice ratio of 44 strikeouts vs. 17 walks in 48.1 innings.

It was rumored earlier this year that the Braves could trade Teheran for a bushel of prospects, but it looks like Atlanta made the right choice by unloading Shelby Miller instead, who is struggling severely for Arizona. That is not to say that the Braves cannot still trade Teheran also in the coming months, but those whispers have obviously not impacted his pitching performance.

 

Liriano Better than Last Start
Thus, we feel the Pirates will have more trouble scoring runs here than they have the past two nights, and we also feel the same will be true of the Braves despite Liriano getting lit up in his last start for Pittsburgh. The southpaw was reached for eight earned runs on nine hits plus four walks in just 4.2 innings by the Cubs at Wrigley Field last Friday, leaving him at 3-2 with a swollen 4.99 ERA and 1.54 WHIP overall.

However, those numbers are not true measures of the ability Liriano really has, as we are talking about a guy with a career 3.60 FIP and 3.52 xFIP, and even this year he is striking out a hearty 10.44 batters per nine innings. His Achilles Heel this season has been an ugly walk rate of 5.22 per nine innings, but he now faces a good lineup against which to straighten himself out, with the Braves batting a pathetic .208 while averaging just 2.48 runs vs. southpaws this year.

Also remember that Liriano allowed a grand total of two runs and nine hits in 13 innings over his last two starts vs. the Braves.

 

Traditionally an ‘under’ Series
Finally, even with the first two results in this series the ‘under’ is still 29-11-1 in the last 41 head-to-head meetings between these teams here in Pittsburgh. The ‘under’ is also 3-1-1 in Teheran’s last five starts overall, as well as 5-2 in Liriano’s last seven starts vs. the National League East.

After the wild results of the past two nights, we expect these two starting pitchers to settle things down in this contest to make the ‘under’ the play when Atlanta continues its visit to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

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Free MLB Pick: Under 7
Best Line Offered: at Heritage