MLB Picks: Pitching Preview Complemented by Betting Trends

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 2:24 PM GMT

On Wednesday as we let the MLB odds sink in from the sportsbooks, baseball handicappers like myself will address the topic of - run support - for pitchers. Here we will delve into how much is enough.

We have found three hurlers who take the ball for their teams who rank in the top 20 of run support this season with a minimum of 10 starts. Will this trio of pitchers need their typical support from their teammates or is their skill such that if they pitch their normal game, they will be just an easy choice for MLB picks. Let's dive into this subject matter.

 

Tigers vs. Mariners: Sanchez Coming Around in Part in Detroit Offense
The loss of Miguel Cabrera was presumed to leave a big hole in the Tigers offense which has sputtered most of the year even with him in the lineup. But to Detroit's credit, the players have stepped up, especially J.D. Martinez, who was finally coming around even before Cabrera injured his calf and is hitting .379 with a 1.402 OPS and 23 rbi's in his last 14 games.

The Tigers are averaging 7.8 runs a contest in their last five, which is even more than what they have scored for today's starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (7-7, 4.65 ERA) at 5.24 in his 17 starts. But Sanchez has been improving, lowering his ERA 1.04 over his past five outings. The right-hander standard numbers are within career norms but he's been in his own worst enemy making bad pitches and been taken over the fence 18 times this season.

To his credit, Sanchez has been extremely durable, reaching a pitch count of at least 110 in his last eight starts. In the rubber match with Seattle this afternoon, the betting odds have Detroit as +106 underdogs (+109 at Hertiagesports.eu earlier this morning), however, the Tigers are 10-3 in road day games this season. Detroit is 12-8 versus left-handed starters like J.A. Happ (4-5, 3.93) in 2015. Here a bonus situation to also ponder for sports picks, the Tigers are 10-0 OVER after eight or more consecutive Over's and Sanchez is 18-6 OVER in day baseball the last three years.

Slight Advantage - Sanchez and Detroit Over

 

Blue Jays vs. White Sox: Hutchinson Needs Help in Chi-Town
Drew Hutchinson is one of those pitchers whose record has nothing to do with his performance. The Toronto righty is 8-2, but his ERA is 5.23 and his WHIP is 1.47, thanks to surrendering 109 base-knocks and 28 free passes over just 93 innings. Hutchinson will take on the White Sox John Danks, who actually has slightly better numbers (4.95 ERA and 1.44 WHIP) yet is 4-8 this season. How can this be?

It starts by being on the top offensive team in baseball, which the Blue Jays are at 5.4 RPG. And for reasons unknown, they really swing the lumber with authority (or feel they have to) when Hutchinson's on the hill scoring 6.94 runs, which is the best run support for any starter based on our earlier mention of qualifications.

Toronto is a -150 favorite despite Hutchinson having a 9.00 road earned run average (Jays somehow 5-4 in those starts). Danks does not have the same offensive firepower behind him and his OPS of .843 is the worst in the AL, not what you need facing Toronto's mashers.

Slight Advantage - Hutchinson and Toronto

 

Cardinals vs. Cubs: St. Louis and Wacha in Game that Matters
The Cardinals will still be in first place in the NL Central no matter the outcome tonight, but do not think this series finale is not important. In the past 10 games, St. Louis has seen their lead over Pittsburgh slashed in half to four games and if the Cubs win, not only do they take the four-game series but they gain an immense amount of confidence and close to within six games of the Redbirds.

Michael Wacha (10-3, 2.66) will be asked to help provide the Cards with a split and except for a couple bumps, the right-hander has been excellent all season. Not only has Wacha thrown well, but his teammates have given a platform to excel in averaging 4.95 RPG, versus the 4.0 runs St. Louis normally tallies.

MLB Odds makers and bettors are skittish about the Cardinals these days because of their 3-6 record and have them as +105 underdogs to Chicago for this ESPN matchup. A big reason is Jason Hammel (5-4, 2.89), who has a 2.30 ERA at Wrigley Field as a Cub and has been even slightly better in 2015 at 2.25. While Wacha and the Cardinals are 8-1 when the money line is +125 to -125 this season, we'll play hunch with a system we like and back the home team with Wednesday's MLB picks.

Slight Disadvantage - Wacha and St. Louis