MLB Picks: Handicapping Tuesday's Starting Pitchers

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 3:15 PM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2015 3:15 PM UTC

Today we have a very intriguing board of baseball action and sportsbooks are forecasting a lot competitive contests, with the current highest money line at -150 betting odds, making for tough choices.

For Tuesday we will scrutinize three of the tighter MLB odds. and attempt to identity which starting pitcher can give their club an edge for MLB picks


St. Louis Starter Solid, Washington Hurler Could Go Either Way
Washington has not flown out of the gate as expected at 6-7 and will play the only three games on their schedule against a team with a winning record until June versus St. Louis. The Nationals are 2-11 in their past 13 confrontations with the Cardinals and will utilize Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 5.11 ERA) to get the series off of a good start for Washington, but he has not been effective. Gonzalez has surrendered a combination of 17 hits and walks in 12 1/3 innings, leading to seven earned runs. Still, the leftlander has been excellent in three career starts against the Cards; touting a 1.17 ERA with 21 strikeouts and four walks through 23 innings.

Lance Lynn (1-1, 1.64) has a 2.06 ERA in his last 18 starts dating to July 4 for the Redbirds and in a trio of starts against the Nationals; he’s 3-0 with 2.37 ERA.

In Washington’s past 13 unlucky matchups with St. Louis, they have failed to score more than three times in any contest, with the Cardinals pitchers boasting a 1.24 ERA. Off to an 8-3 start, hard not to want to choose Lynn as the better hurler against an opponent they know they beat as +107 money line underdogs.

Grade – C (for St. Louis)

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Rays Archer Has Been on Target, but Not Against Boston
Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer (2-1, 1.37) has won back-to-back starts and in his first three starts, the hard-chucking righty has given up nine hits and walked four with 21 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings. Opposing hitters are batting a silly .136 against the 25-year old. "I'm not result oriented, it's totally about the process," Archer said. "The process ... has been perfect to me."

As good as the process has been this season; Archer has ghosts in his closet and they are in Boston uniforms, which have haunted him. Archer is 1-4 with a 6.03 ERA in seven starts versus the Red Sox and his last outing was his worst, as he gave up a career-high eight runs and 10 hits in four innings in an 8-4 home loss on Aug. 29.

Boston’s Wade Miley has not shown well for the BoSox with a humongous 10.57 ERA in a pair of starts, but is 2-0 versus the Rays with a sharp 0.68 ERA when a member of Arizona. Archer and Tampa Bay are tempting in this contentious rivalry at -125, however, can the right-hander overcome Boston’s hex and a 1-9 mark after giving up two or fewer earned runs in his last two outings? (Rays record)

Grade – D (for Tampa Bay)


Young Pitchers in Seattle Headed Different Directions
Seattle’s Taijuan Walker is considered one of the top young arms in baseball at age 22 and a brilliant spring earned him a spot in the Mariners rotation. Whether it is anxiety or nor quite comfortable at this level, Walker been hammered through two starts, surrendering 14 runs with six walks in 7 1/3 innings, leaving him 0-2 with an eye-popping 17.19 ERA. MLB baseball handicappers like yours truly have watched him in the Arizona and the regular season and he’s nibbling too much compared to just throwing like he did in spring training.

Walker will have to collect himself quick as Houston’s Collin McHugh (2-0, 1.54) has been unbeatable, literally. McHugh had been up with the Astros in 2012-13 to get a look and joined the rotation last April. After a 4-8 start thru July 6th, McHugh was taken out of the rotation. The right-hander could strike out hitters, but he walked too many batters and left too many pitches in the zone. Instead of giving up on McHugh, the Houston coaches adjusted his arm slot higher, encouraged his to trust his nasty curve more, especially with the new arm angle, and since August 1 over 12 starts he’s 9-0 with 1.74 ERA, striking out 70 with a mere 10 walks.

Walker in his big league career has three victories and all have come against the Astros. Seattle has gone from -130 favorite to a Pick, which makes this a coin flip for MLB picks.

Grade – Incomplete (could go either way)

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