Free MLB Picks: Handicapping Friday’s Starting Pitcher Report

Doug Upstone

Friday, May 1, 2015 3:09 PM GMT

For those who will be placing MLB picks against the betting odds, there are 3 very interesting choices in terms of pitching matchups. The sportsbooks money lines are lower, which toughens the task.

Which pitchers will have the competitive edge in these seemingly close calls for MLB picks? Let us examine the facts to determine answers.

 

Fading Hurlers Collide in Yankees vs. Red Sox Rematch
We know, it seems every year New York and Boston player each other 40 times, but because of the media hype and virtually every battle is on national television, people outside of those two metropolitan areas are fatigued with the redundancy. Nonetheless, do not blame the networks as these annually are among the biggest draws for eyeballs.

The series opener will have to pitchers whose best days are behind them. C.C. Sabathia (0-4, 5.96 ERA) is winless this far into the season for the first time in his career. Sabathia has seen the velocity of his fastball drop, the sharpness of his curveball is less consistent and he’s trying to learn to change speeds while keeping pitches down. At 34, all those innings are finally catching up and now he’s attempting to find pitches that work.

Justin Masterson (2-0, 5.16) is on his second tour of duty with Boston and though he is only 29, his unusual delivery has caused him arm anguish with several trips to the DL. Masterson does not throw as hard as he used to either which makes it imperative he stays on top of his sinker and slider or they really flatten out.

Boston is a -120 favorite, but given the current form of both starters, the total might be the best choice. Here you have two scuffling pitchers and Boston 12-3 OVER when the money line is +125 to -125 this season, this should be the best choice of all.

Grade – B (For Over)

Friday’s Top Picks Include Trio of Money Lines to Increase Payout

Aces Clash in the Big Apple
This evening we have a tantalizing matchup with Max Scherzer (1-2, 1.26) taking Matt Harvey (4-0, 3.06). Scherzer for the most part has been as good as advertised and would love to tap into his club’s recent offensive outburst of 34 runs in three contests. Scherzer is a power pitcher who throws strikes and commands several different pitches all with equal authority.

Harvey is out of the same mold but with a stronger frame and greater leg drive. His fastball has ample life in the 90’s and has the kind of movement he can throw up in the zone with two strikes. If Harvey starts games with a good feel for his slider, opposing hitters have little chance.

The MLB odds at Wagerweb opened with the Mets at -120 and they have slid back to a Pick. When you consider both starters and both bullpens it is about equal, thus the only real edge is Washington is 17-4 at Citi Field and makes that work for them.

Grade – C (For Washington)

 

Can Carrasco Come up Clutch for Cleveland?
Several MLB baseball handicappers had the Indians on the heels of Detroit to be AL Central contenders (including this one), but instead Cleveland is mired in last place with a 7-14 mark (-9.5) and has been among the worst wagers in the game. No question injuries have curtailed the Indians offense but Michael Brantley is back and it is time for starting pitchers like Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 4.60) to do more their share. The right-hander has exhibited excellent control with 23 K’s and 3 W’s in 15 2/3 innings, but he catching too much of the plate which raised his ERA and he and his teammates are just 3-10 at Progressive Field since 2013.

Mark Buehrle (3-1, 4.94) is off his first bad outing of the season, but will be after his third consecutive win over Cleveland (Teams he played for are 8-2 since May 2010 when he starts). The left-hander probably could not break a sturdy hunk of glass with his fastball, yet he is 21-9 versus AL teams scoring 4.2 or fewer runs and 15-3 against losing outfits the past few seasons. (Team’s record)

Cleveland is a -115 home favorite, but few reasons to believe they come through.

Grade – C (For Toronto)