Pressure affects all of us differently and it is no different for baseball pitchers. When you are placing MLB picks against the sportsbooks you have to gauge how starting pitchers might react.
For Friday we will look at three different hurlers facing opponents who are problematic to their team’s chances to win. We will break down what each pitcher needs to do lead their team to victory and what their chances are of beating the MLB betting odds at places like GTBets.
Royals vs. Cubs: Can Arrieta Contain K.C. Offense?
The Chicago Cubs have another benchmark series to find out how they are coming along on their trek to respectability and ultimately become a National League pennant contender. Against both St. Louis and Washington the Cubs have come up short and face the AL champions next.
Kansas City has lost four in a row and for the first time all season their offense has gone dormant in scoring five total runs in this period. However, not many MLB baseball handicappers expect this to continue for long with the amount of productivity they had generated until just recently.
Jake Arrieta (4-4, 2.95 ERA) and the Cubs are -140 favorites which seem like overvalued odds when you know his mound opponent Edinson Volquez (4-3, 2.77) is 7-0 with a 2.90 ERA in 11 games, including 10 starts, against Chicago.
Arrieta is pitching to his potential he never realized in Baltimore, having improved his mechanics that made his release point and command more reliable. This is not an easy choice for MLB picks, but the Royals know how to win, are the superior fielding club and have a better bullpen, which should prevent the Cubs from winning.
Disadvantage – Arrieta and Chicago
Dodgers vs Cardinals: Big Assignment for Dodgers and Bolsinger
The Los Angeles Dodgers have not enjoyed Busch Stadium very often in recent years. This has been especially so in October and over the last two seasons L.A. has dropped eight of 12 near The Arch.
Mike Bolsinger (3-0, 0.71) was recalled from the minors on May 12th and has given every indication he wants to remain with the big club the rest of the year. The right-hander is not youngster at 27, but since returning to the majors he has incredible numbers with 0.46 ERA and 0.66 WHIP.
Bolsinger fastball and cutter top out in the upper 80’s, but he has a loopy bender he tosses anywhere from 75 to 80 MPH and that is the best pitch in his arsenal. St. Louis with John Lackey (2-3, 3.18) is a -120 favorite according to the betting odds and the Cardinals are off to the best home start in team history at 18-5 (+11.2 units), while the Dodgers are merely 7-11 (-7.4) in the road grays.
The Dodger right-hander could turn heads with a victory in this encounter of first place teams, but the Cardinals are rugged foes at home and are 20-4 at Busch with a day off.
Disadvantage – Bolsinger and L.A. Dodgers
Tigers vs. Angels: Santiago Doing his Part for Angels
The L.A. Angels dumped Detroit to square their record at a run of the mill 24 -24 (-3.2). Hector Santiago (3-3, 2.47) might also have a .500 record but he’s not to blame having conceded one or no earned runs in six of nine starts but he's been hurt by lack of run support with the Halos averaging 2.6 runs in his last half dozen outings and scored only 1.49 per contest until he exited. Santiago’s assortment of pitches has been less hittable and he’s overcome the first inning hebe-jebes.
If ever the time was right for a bust out performance to back Santiago, this should be it for the Angels facing Anibal Sanchez (3-5, 6.12) whose ERA is almost eight in his last three starts.
Thought Detroit has split its past four contests, a number of players are slumping and they have scored only six total runs. Plus, the Big A in Anaheim is a house of horrors for the Tigers with a 15-42 record there in the past 13 years including having lost 10 of 11.
Advantage – Santiago and L.A.A. Angels