Since we did so well last week following the top pitchers on the MLB money charts, let's load up on some more quality arms for Thursday's three-pack of baseball picks.
Jason's 2015 record as of May 13: 19-11, plus-7.93 units ML; 0-2, minus-2.05 units Total
Who said making MLB picks was so hard? Last week, we rode the top money-making arms in the majors to paydirt – and faded the guy at the bottom of the ledger. You know, the Cy Young winner. Three games, three more wins for the good guys. Let's see if we can ride that overly simplified strategy to victory once again this week – starting with a too-early matinee in the Forest City.
St. Louis vs. Cleveland (12:10 p.m. ET)
Our target pitcher for this matchup is Michael Wacha (3.62 FIP), who's led the Cardinals to 6.36 units in earnings on a perfect team record of 6-0. Wacha made us look good last month in a 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals (–135 at home); that was one of five quality starts for the 6-foot-6 northpaw, although he's been somewhat fortunate to post a .233 BABIP for the Cards (23-10, plus-11.79 units) and strand 81.6 percent of base runners.
It'll be Trevor Bauer (3.80 FIP) taking the hill for the Tribe, who just happen to be the poorest team in the majors at 12-20 and 12.41 units in the red. Bauer is only responsible for one of those units on a team record of 3-3, but he got drilled in his last two starts. At least Cleveland has given Bauer five runs per game of support, and over the past 14 days, the Tribe ranked seventh in the majors in hitting value (2.8 WAR) with a .805 team OPS. We'll take Wacha and the Cards anyway, especially at this bargain price on the MLB betting odds board.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Cardinals
Minnesota vs. Detroit (1:08 p.m. ET)
Here's a special situation: The Twins, who have already exceeded expectations this year at 19-15 and plus-7.82 betting units, are sending Mike Pelfrey (4.64 FIP) to the mound on Thursday. Pelfrey is fifth on the MLB money charts with 5.84 units in earnings on a team record of 5-1. Again, his .250 BABIP and those 5.83 runs per game of support could be a harbinger of bad things to come – are there any other kind of harbingers? But for now, all is Camelot.
Even better, the rather chalky Tigers (20-14, plus-4.03 units) are about to start Anibal Sanchez, who has lost 4.01 units on a team record of 2-5 after posting a pedestrian 4.16 FIP. Sanchez has also had this start moved up; he was supposed to go Friday against the Cardinals. Never mess with another man's schedule.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Twins
Colorado vs. L.A. Dodgers (10:10 p.m. ET)
This is about as close to a can of corn as you're going to get when you make your MLB picks. The Dodgers (22-11, plus-6.77 units) are as good as it gets right now, and Thursday's scheduled starter, Brett Anderson (3.55 FIP), is up 1.62 units on a team record of 4-2. And that's despite a .343 BABIP. No regression concerns here. Plus, Anderson hasn't allowed an earned run in his past 11 innings of work. Very nice.
As for the Rockies (11-19, minus-8.14 units), they're on an 11-game losing streak, and they're feeding Chad Bettis to the wolves on Thursday. Bettis has a 5.14 career FIP in 69.1 innings for Colorado; he's arguably the top pitching prospect in the farm system, but this will be his season debut in the majors, and Bettis wasn't exactly lighting it up at AAA-Albuquerque. The baseball odds are being very kind to us with Los Angeles only favored by –180 at home as we go to press. We'll buy that for a dollar.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Dodgers