MLB Picks: Rockies Will Get It Together & Steal Pirates' Loot

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, May 21, 2016 12:28 PM GMT

Rockies will try to redeem themselves after dropping their first of a three-game series with the Pirates last night. Let's analyze the MLB odds and find the sharp side in this afternoon's NL tilt.

2016 MLB Record: 21-12, +8.71 units

Colorado Rockies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Colorado Rockies (20-21, +3.4 units)
After reeling off five wins in a row the Rockies lost their third straight last night, despite the fact that they sprayed 12 hits yet managed only one run in their 2-1 loss to the Pirates. Right fielder Carlos Gonzalez went 0-for-3 and is without a hit in his last 15 at-bats and is just 2-for-31 over his last nine games. Colorado is now in third place in the NL West and 3 ½ games behind the division leading Giants. Offensively the Rockies' bats have been doing the job as their lineup has produced 203 runs which is good for 5th in the league, 3rd in team batting average, 7th in on base percentage and 4th in slugging percentage.

Tonight they will hand the ball to right-hander Tyler Chatwood (5-3, 3.20 ERA) who has won all four of his road starts with a major league-best 0.33 ERA and a 0.795 WHIP in those games on the highway. His Coors Field performances have not been nearly as good as evidenced by the shellacking he took from the Diamondbacks on May 9th when the MLB odds makers installed him as a -160 home favorite. Chatwood tossed six innings and gave up six earned runs on seven hits in the 10-5 loss. However, he did bounce back in his last outing, again at home, where he surrendered three earned runs over seven innings in a 4-3 victory over the Mets.

Pittsburgh Pirates (23-18, +2.5 units)
You often hear that defense wins championships but normally that discussion concerns football teams not baseball clubs. But last night the Pirates' defense was wizardly and their starting pitcher Gerrit Cole had this to say when asked what was the key component to the Pirates' victory, "Defense," the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander said. "Stellar defense all over the diamond." Cole allowed 10 hits and closer Mark Melancon allowed two for a total of 12 hits but the sterling efforts of his teammates in the field closed the door on all but one Rockie crossing home plate.

Southpaw Jon Niese (4-2, 5.48) gets the call this afternoon and will make his ninth start of the season. The Pirates are 6-2 when he pitches. The 29-year-old veteran defeated the lowly Braves on Monday night, allowing two runs on five hits in the 8-5 victory. Niese is 3-3 when starting against the Rockies over his career with an ERA of 5.64 and a WHIP of 1.583. His team's record is 5-5 (+0.5 units) in these 10 starts.

 

Betting Analysis
Both teams boast superior offensive stats this season so there is really no advantage to be had in terms of lineups. However, it is impossible to overlook the fact that Tyler Chatwood morphs into vintage Randy Johnson when he takes the hill in opposition stadiums. Chatwood hasn’t allowed a run in over 21 plus innings of work and has given up only one earned run in 27 plus road innings this season. Away from Coors Field the 26-year-old is virtually invincible but he has yet to face the Pirates in his career.

There is no way to put it other than the Pirates have flat-out owned the Rockies over the past three seasons. Pittsburgh is 14-3 overall and 6-1 in games played at PNC Park against Colorado. They are 4-0 against the Rockies as well this season. However, the Rockies have played their best ball on the road this season and are 12-11 and plus a whopping 6.9 units despite being only one game above .500 on the road.

The Rocks are 5-0 in Chatwood's last five starts while the Pirates are 2-7 over their last nine Saturday games with a starting pitcher that is middling at best in Jon Niese. Let's not forget that if it hadn't been for the Pirates' defensive heroics last night, the Rockies would have stomped their hosts. Let's go with the visitors here in our MLB picks for Saturday afternoon.

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Free MLB Pick: Colorado Rockies +123
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker