MLB Picks: Pirates Won't Get Sunk By Reds In Friendly Waters

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, April 29, 2016 7:18 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 29, 2016 7:18 PM GMT

Nothing could be more dichotomous than the way Pittsburgh is hitting and Cincinnati pitching have performed since those two games. Take a look at our MLB pick for this game!

Cincinnati Reds (Straily) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Nicasio)

Cincinnati Reds
The Reds enter tonight’s matchup with the 28th worst ERA in MLB at 5.45! That has been even worse in their 1-6 slide of late against the Mets and Cubs, in which the team has a 6.90 ERA. Without their closer from recent years (Chapman), the bullpen has a whopping .856 OPS. The hitting has been unable to compensate for the pitching deficiencies, as their team OPS is .683 (22nd in the league).

The Reds have been beset by pitching woes the entire season. Three of their projected starters began the year on the injured list. At the end of last year, the Reds divested themselves of a pair of consistent top of the rotation starters in Cueto and Leake. Its little wonder that the 9-13 start by the Reds (1-8 on the road) is right on their projection to win less than 70 games this season, following their 64-98 season of 2015.  

 

Pittsburgh Pirates
At the other end of the spectrum are the hot-hitting bats of the Pittsburgh Pirates! Credit an offseason game plan by Pirates’ Manager, Clint Hurdle, which was implemented with the consent and help of the players. The object is to optimize the OBP and slugging averages with tailor-made lineup changes each day, which provide the Pirates with a lineup, which as Hurdle says, “connects a strong chain, where there is no weak link.” The proof is in the pudding, as the Pirates have scored 119 runs (behind only the Cubs and Cards), have a .294 BA and the No. 2 ranked OPS at .821 entering the series.  

 

Betting Analysis
Advantages on the mound are plentiful as well! Straily was working out the bullpen for the Reds before being forced into a pair of recent starts. Those have lasted just a combined 9 2/3 IP, in which he has allowed 4 runs. He is clearly not the answer. After a great spring, Nicasio was awarded the 5th spot in the Pirates’ rotation. Though he has struggled to a 6.75 ERA on the road, Nicasio has been “money” from this mound, where in 2 starts totaling 12 IP, he has a 3.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 13/2 KBB. 

Last year, it was precarious to play the run line with the Pirates, as their mediocre offense meant that only 62 of their 98 wins were by 2 or more runs. This year with their bats booming, 4 of 5 of their home victories have come by 3 or more runs, while the Reds have struggled in their 13 losses, losing 10 of them by 2 or more runs. With the current form of these 2 (Pirates have won 4 straight, Reds have lost 4 straight), backing up those advantages, let’s take advantage of a run line underdog price for a big score. I invite you to put the MLB odds in your favor and join me in my MLB pick on the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight.

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Free MLB Pick: Pitsburgh Pirates (-150)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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