MLB Picks: Nationals vs. Pirates

Joe Catalano

Friday, May 3, 2013 4:48 PM GMT

Friday, May. 3, 2013 4:48 PM GMT

The Washington Nationals (15-14) travel to the City of Steel to face the Pittsburgh Pirates (16-12)  in the 1st of 3 in what should be a very competitive matchup with two top flight pitchers stepping to the rubber in Ross Detwiler for the Nats and A.J. Burnett for the Bucs.

First pitch is set for Friday at 7:05 pm ET at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Friday MLB Betting Odds & Lines Report

According to MLB odds makers at 5 Dimes Sportsbook, the Pirates as a -124 betting favorite and the total for the game is 7.

Both teams are coming off of victories; Check out who we feel is the correct team to back with our MLB picks in this National League matchup.

[gameodds]3/225983/43/us[/gameodds]

A Number 2 Pitcher?

Although he’s not 2nd in the rotation, with the inconsistent pitching of Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, one could very well say that Ross Detwiler is currently the 2nd best pitcher on the Pirates pitching staff.

With his worst outing coming in his last matchup, Detwiler has given the Nationals a quality start in everyone of his 5 starts. The offense hasn’t given him the run support and it’s resulted in 1 win thus far. The Nationals hope to change that tonight, but they face a tough obstacle in A.J. Burnett.

In Need of Support…

Much of the same can be said of about A.J. Burnett in comparison to Detwiler; he doesn’t get the run support. The way that Burnett has been pitching, he should have at least 4 wins already. No wonder that he’s mentioning retirement. That’s speculation, but it’s pretty difficult to take the mound and know that you need to be almost perfect.

The Superstars Are There!

The runs might not always be there for these pitchers, but both teams have world beaters in superstars Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper. Harper started off this season like a runaway train, looking to run away with the National League MVP Award but has simmered down as of late.

On the season, Harper has 9 home runs with 18 runs batted in and a .323 batting average. He’s been in a major slump lately, going 1 for 16 in his last 5 games. Harper must turn this around for the Nats to be effective. To be batting .323 and to be hitting 1 for his last 16 at-bats just proves the amazing start this super sophomore had gotten out to.

Andrew McCutchen isn’t in a slump, but he’s now nearly having the kind of season that he had last year. McCutchen is hitting just .238 on the season with 3 home runs, 16 runs batted in, and 6 stolen bases. He’s small in stature but has a lot of pop in his bat. Some people question whether he’s the real deal, but last season proved it to me. Pittsburgh desperately needs his offense.

Thanks to a 4 hit game against Milwaukee, McCutchen is 5 for 13 with 1 home run and 3 batted in during his latest series, the Milwaukee series.

On a positive note for Pirates backers, McCutchen is a lifetime 3 for 3 with 1 run batted in against Ross Detwiler. Will he still be batting 1.000 against Detwiler when this game is over is the question?

Trends

Over is 8-0 in the Pirates last 8 games overall

Under is 4-1 in the Nationals last 5 road games

Nationals are 2-5 in Detwiler’s  last 7 starts vs. a team with a winning record

Pirates are 4-11 in Burnett’s last 15 starts

Outcome

I give the Pirates a slight edge at home with Burnett on the mound. The fact that Bryce Harper has hit a cold spell makes this free pick even that much more appealing. Keep this bet fairly low; this is a tight matchup. Take Pittsburgh and lay the juice.

Pick- Pittsburgh -124 at 5 Dimes

comment here