MLB Picks: Sunday's Pitcher’s Report Highlights the Edge

Doug Upstone

Sunday, May 24, 2015 2:18 PM GMT

It is the one term no baseball player wants to here – being swept. Today we will delve into three hurlers who are partly responsible to help their teams avoid this fate and we look at their MLB odds.

Mets vs. Pirates: Niese Tries to Salvage One for Mets
The New York Mets slide has them losing nine of 13, including the first two games of the series against Pittsburgh. The now second place Mets are in real danger of tumbling to third place in the NL East before the end of the month if not sooner and hope Jonathan Niese (3-4, 3.72 ERA) can be their savior.

First, manager Terry Collins is hoping the left-hander has a short memory. Niese gave up a career high-tying eight runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings Tuesday in a 10-2 loss to St. Louis. This will be Niese seventh start versus Pittsburgh and despite a fine 3-1 record, his earned run average tells a little different story at 4.41 ERA.

Places like GTBets.eu are not giving the 28-year old much of a chance being +160 underdogs. To give New York a chance to win, Niese has to move his 88-90 MPH fastball around, working inside/outside and up and down with pinpoint accuracy. He’s normally skilled at changing the shapes and looks of his curveball and mixes in a change.

Pittsburgh with Francisco Liriano (1-4, 4.15) can certainly be beaten since the Pirates are 1-7 when he starts this season. Despite the MLB betting odds, the last three years Niese and New York are 7-0 in road games playing against a team with a losing record, giving them a chance.

Slight Advantage – Niese and New York

 

Cardinals vs. Royals: St. Louis to Lean on Wacha
With much delight Kansas City has already proven their superiority over St. Louis, at least at home and more than one Royals fan will delightfully bring a broom into today’s contest with their team seeking the sweep.

The Cardinals have not been swept in western Missouri in almost 14 years and will hand the ball to Michael Wacha (6-0, 2.13). The Redbirds right-hander and his teammates have won each of his eight starts this season and baseball handicappers realize this streak is 10 games during the regular season dating back to September. Wacha throws over the top and hides his 93-96 MPH fastball well. Because of the deceptive delivery opposing hitters have hard time squaring his pitches up since it seems the ball is on top of you before you can react properly. He blends in a curve with real downward movement which he changes speeds with.

Wacha and the Cards are modest +100 to +105 road underdogs and he is s 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against the Royals. However, Kansas City Yordano Ventura (3-3, 4.56) is unpredictable and if he is off and Wacha is on, St. Louis can end their three-game losing streak in the I-70 series finale.

Advantage – Wacha and St. Louis

 

Padres vs. Dodgers: San Diego Need Runs to Help Shields Win Again
Even though Memorial Day is not until tomorrow, San Diego has already been shut-out eight times this season and because of their offensive woes the Padres have lost nine games in 2015 in which their pitchers conceded three or fewer runs, including each defeat in this four-game losing streak.

James Shields (5-0, 3.74) will try and not become the next victim, but it might not matter unless he keeps the ball in the yard. Shields has two elements going presently, one is very good and the other is not. The right-hander has a NL-leading 75 strikeouts in only 55 1/3 innings. Nonetheless, he’s been tagged for a major league-worst 14 home runs, leading to higher than presumed ERA for an unbeaten pitcher.

Though the Dodgers offense has been really scuffling this week (four runs in five games), they do lead the NL in home runs with 56. San Diego is a +120 underdog, but Shields is 10-3 as an underdog of +100 to +150 the last two seasons (Team's Record), but will it be enough to overcome L.A. posting a 19-5 home record and 18-3 mark vs. RH starters this season. For  MLB picks have to lean with the home team.

Slight Disadvantage – Shields and San Diego