Improve MLB Picks Accuracy with Thursday's Pitcher Report

Doug Upstone

Thursday, May 21, 2015 2:07 PM GMT

Without a doubt the betting odds sportsbooks released on this afternoon’s Dodgers vs. Giants pitching matchup will draw a great of attention from those putting together MLB picks.

For the third time already this season, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner will duel and we have it covered. In addition a pair of AL Central hurlers will be in roles to set the table or close the deal based on how they pitch today which will be very important for their clubs.

 

Dodgers vs. Giants
Kershaw vs. Bumgarner – Act 3
Despite being the best pitcher in baseball the last several years, Clayton Kershaw (2-2, 4.24 ERA) is losing ground and is losing his grip not only on that title but maybe not even being the best left-handed pitcher. Kershaw officially only lost one of the two previous matchups this season posting a 2.77 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 13 innings, but the Dodgers dropped both games. Bumgarner was better, with a 1.88 ERA as his team won both times.

Though Kershaw’s overall brilliance has been unmatched, Bumgarner has a bigger reputation as a ‘big game’ pitcher with numerous stellar postseason performances over the past five years, three which led to World Series rings and his efforts last fall cemented his place in the game. Kershaw has not been as good and that has become a measuring stick for many making sports picks.

While it is only May, there is pressure on Kershaw to come through since he’s only 1-3 in five battles with mound counterpart and his team is 0-5 at AT&T Park this season and in position to be swept again by the Giants. There is less anxiety on Bumgarner who is 8-3 with a 1.88 ERA against the hated Dodgers and who would fault him for losing to a first place team against a pitcher of Kershaw’s stature.

The MLB odds have Los Angeles as -125 favorites, but they are coming off two shutouts to San Francisco. Potentially this could work in their favor being 20-5 after scoring four runs or less in three straight games and 22-4 after two or more straight losses.

Advantage – Kershaw and Los Angeles

 

Astros vs. Tigers
Price looks to set the table for Detroit

Before making any MLB picks for this game, baseball handicappers will be curious to see what David Price (3-1, 3.40) has to offer against the team with the best record in the AL in Houston (27-14, +13.1 units). Though having to sit for 80 minutes in his last start because of a rain delay which likely affected his performance in surrendering three home runs to St. Louis, the left-hander has a 5.58 ERA over his last five outings. Price has not been able to spot his fastball with his usual pinpoint accuracy and his curveball has lacked the usual downward angle and he’s left too many hangers.

Bettors are a little skeptical also, as the Tigers have fallen from -170 to -150 at places like Wagerweb, who also realize the Astros are a fabulous 12-4 on the road this season and 15-7 as underdogs. Even with this, look for Price to be focused for as big game and do the job.

Advantage - Price and Detroit

 

Indians vs. White Sox
Salazar Entrusted to Help Cleveland

It is has been a dismal year for the Indians at 16-23 (-10.8 units) and in last place in the AL Central. A victory today over Chicago could change Cleveland’s mood to a more positive view by winning a four-game series against a White Sox squad who was percolating as of Monday.

Danny Salazar (4-1, 4.06) will attempt to close the deal for the Indians, but the only aspect which has been consistent about right-hander is his inconsistency. He’s either been very good or very bad and nothing in between. When on his game Salazar has an overpowering four-seam fastball in the mid-90’s and a quick-biting slider to complement his heater. His split-type change-up produces a lot of swings and misses when his other pitches are working.

The Tribe is a -125 favorite and while we like Salazar’s talent, Cleveland is 9-15 when a favorite of -100 or higher and is a despicable 1-10 having won two of three this season. With John Danks and Chicago 7-0 at home when off a loss (Sox record), we do not like the Indians chances.

Disadvantage – Salazar and Cleveland