When facing a hard-swinging lineup, every opposing pitcher understands mistakes have to be limited. Those generating sports picks against the MLB odds know the same thing and have to be wise.
A batting order full of sluggers and players who can get on base adds a lot of pressure and today we try and surmise how three starting pitchers will react and if they will be a smart choice for sports picks. Make sure to read closely since I'm on a nice 22-8 roll as a baseball handicapper.
Royals vs. Blue Jays: What Can Duffy Do to Slow Toronto?
Danny Duffy (4-4, 4.03 ERA) is a peculiar pitcher. The left-hander revs his fastball up to the plate in the 93-94 MPH range, throws a tightly-spun curveball and has what scouts describe as a "firm changeup". Yet when you look at his numbers from year to year, they scream -ordinary. Duffy's biggest weakness is he has long arm action for his delivery to the plate and when excited, he tends to rush and alters his release point and pitches are left up in the zone and are hittable.
Against Toronto's top-ranked offense which averages 5.3 runs per game, this could lethal. Sportsbooks are not placing much faith in Duffy with the Royals betting odds at +132 (Wagerweb still at +126), not believing he can contain the Blue Jays again. In fairness to Duffy, he been special this month with a 1.37 ERA and contributing to this performance was 20 days ago, when he threw six scoreless inning versus Toronto in a 3-0 victory.
He bested Marco Estrada (7-6, 3.55) that day and they will duel again. With Kansas City having a decided bullpen edge, Duffy just has to keep the Royals in the game, because the Blue Jays are a sickly 20-41 in games determined by three or fewer runs.
Slight Advantage - Duffy and Kansas City
Rockies vs. Cardinals: The Cards Martinez has been Great, will he Limit Rockies Bats?
Colorado might score the third-most runs in baseball, but that does not mean they have a superior offense. Case in point shows the Rockies average 4.6 RPG, but when leave the comforts of Coors Field, their offense is less refreshing than a Coors Light, crumbling all the way down to 3.6 RPG on the road.
The Cardinals Carlos Martinez (11-4, 2.34) should not have a real have a real difficult time against Colorado with how he is pitching and how they perform on the road. Since May 20th, Martinez has the finest ERA of all pitchers who have made at least 10 starts at a minuscule 1.13. And when the occasional batter does get into scoring position, they are hitting .122 against the right-hander.
St. Louis has been shutout in consecutive outings, but is still a -235 favorite on the MLB odds board because Colorado is 5-16 on the road in their last 21 tries and in their last dozen efforts(?), they are batting .209 with runners in scoring position.
Advantage - Martinez and Cardinals
Yankees vs. Rangers: Texas Would Take Split with Yankees
The beauty of baseball and making MLB picks, there is another game the next day. After building a 5-0 lead on Tuesday, Rangers pitchers gave up 21 runs to the Bronx Bombers and the offense never scored again. However, last night, Colby Lewis continued to throw well and the offense reached five runs again and Texas won the game.
Yovani Gallardo (7-9, 3.19) is Texas' schedule starting pitcher, but it is not 100 percent at this time he will be later tonight. With reports of Cole Hamels being traded to the Rangers, Gallardo might be moved being a free agent at the end of the season. Though the former Brewer pitcher has a losing record, his ERA is the lowest of his career (though he's been shelled in consecutive starts), as he appears to be making the transition from hard-thrower to a more complete pitcher.
On the presumption he starts, Gallardo will attempt to keep the majors second-best offense under wraps in the Yankees, who are averaging 4.8 RPG. This does not figure to be an easy task for the Rangers righty with New York 13-4 since July 8th and tallying 5.7 RPG in the process. Texas is a +130 home underdog in part because of their crummy 17-28 home record, but still has a chance because Yanks starter Michael Pineda (9-7, 3.97) has been erratic over his last eight outings, going 2-5 with a 4.91 ERA. Yet in the end, impossible not to consider Gallardo is 3-15 versus teams whose hitters strike out seven or more times a game in the second half of the season the last two years. (Team's Record)
Disadvantage - Gallardo and Texas