The Reds have been playing better baseball over the past week & will try to win the deciding game of their divisional series against Pirates. Who should we be favoring with our MLB picks this evening?
Though Pittsburgh has been stumbling lately, the MLB odds board shows the home team favored. The lines have the Pirates at right around -150 to win, which leaves the Reds available for backing at +140 or so.
If you think you have an inside edge on beating the total, the number can currently be found at 7.5 runs. Right-handers A.J. Burnett and Anthony DeSclafani will take the bump tonight, with both hurlers sporting ERAs under 3.60 heading into game three of this divisional showdown series.
Pittsburgh Pirates (Burnett)
The Pirates have lost four of their last five games to drop to 40-31 on the season. They're still occuyping the second spot in the NL Central, but now the Chicago Cubs are just a half game back and are threatening to overtake second. Considered one of the best pitching teams in the MLB, Pittsburgh has been let down by their staff as of late, a big reason why they've been slumping.
It'll be up to A.J. Burnett to try and turn the tide for the Pirates, and so far this season he's been up to the challenge. Burnett is 6-3 with a 2.05 ERA and 1.21 WHIP so far in 2015, and he's logged a 81:25 K:BB ratio while only allowing three home runs in total over 92 and 1/3 innings of work.
We'll have to see what kind of mindset Burnett comes out with tonight, however, after he labored through one of his worst starts of the season against Washington his last time out. He allowed 14 hits and four runs (three earned) in 6 and 2/3 innings of that 4-1 road loss. The 38-year-old righty should be glad to return home, where he's gone 2-2 with a 1.27 ERA in six starts this season.
Cincinnati Reds (DeSclafani)
While their division foes have stuttered, the Reds have elevated their play, going 5-2 over their last seven games. They stand at 33-37 on the season still however, which is a disappointing overall mark for a team as talented as Cincinnati. That being said, we've still got a long way to go, and this recent surge could be the start of a turnaround.
The Reds will trot out Anthony DeSclafani this evening in the deciding game of the series. The righty is 5-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.31 WHIP so far this season, and he's settled in as one of the more stable, consistent hurlers for the Cincinnati pitching staff. DeSclafani has also pitched better away from home in 2015, going 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA over seven starts.
The right-hander hasn't had much success in two meetings with Pittsburgh though, surrendering 12 hits and five earned runs over 11 innings of work. Will the third time be the charm for DeSclafani?
Even though they've been trending the wrong direction, we think the presence of Burnett on the bump will instill confident in Pittsburgh as a team tonight. As a result, we're going to be backing the Pirates as our MLB pick to win on the moneyline.
Simply put, Burnett has been a stud this season, especially when pitching at home, and he's more than held his own when facing the Reds as well. He should be able to quiet the Cincinnati bats and rebound after a shaky outing against Washington.
If you feel like taking a bigger risk, we don't hate the idea of backing Pittsburgh on the run-line either, however we're going to play it safe here, as DeSclafani has been solid and this game should be relatively low-scoring in general.
MLB Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates -150 at The Greek