It is the last Friday of April and for MLB baseball handicappers and those chasing down winners for sports picks, there remains quite a few interesting series this weekend with all the division matchups.
Baltimore Looks For Feast at Home
After splitting four games at Fenway Park, the Orioles went to Toronto trouble all they found was trouble and they return home meekly having lost four in a row. In fact the last time they won was against the Red Sox last Saturday and it involved the exact same pitching matchup as today.
Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 2.55 ERA) has enjoyed pitching against the BoSox and is s 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven career starts against Boston. The right-hander is known for his 90 MPH two-seam fastball that sinks and mixes in quality secondary pitches like a cutter, curve and split-change. Among his jobs tonight is keeping David Ortiz under control, whom he’s held hitless in seven at bats.
Rick Porcello (1-2, 6.63) takes ball for the Red Sox and he was lit for eight runs and 12 hits in his previous start against Baltimore. Porcello is a ground ball pitcher, but thus far, too many tosses have been elevated and he’s gotten whacked. "You have to have a short memory and turn the page," Porcello told MLB's official website. "I have these guys again in five days. I'll be ready to go." We shall see.
The MLB odds from the sportsbooks have the O’s hovering just above or below -110 favorites versus a Red Sox club that has dropped four of six and with Porcello 3-6 lifetime against the Birds with a 5.13 ERA, good short price to bet Baltimore.
MLB Pick – Baltimore -102 at 5Dimes
Pittsburgh Returns to Desert
The last time these teams met in downtown Phoenix, Paul Goldschmidt’s season was abruptly ended being hit on the hand suffering a fracture and Andrew McCutchen was drilled the next day, but not until has last at bat which did not settle well with him.
Chances are all those negative feelings will not resurface, but you really never know. Regardless, Pittsburgh has been heading in the right direction in winning seven of 11, and will have Gerrit Cole (2-0, 2.65) climb the hill, who has won back-to-back starts. Cole will have to contain Goldschmidt to have any chance for a victory, whose current line is .296 BA, 16 RBI’s and 5 HR’s.
The Pirates will look at the unusual arm angle of Josh Collmenter (1-2, 3.38), who had a complete game four-hit shutout at San Francisco a week ago. Prior to that Collmenter had been largely ineffective (19 hits and 8 runs allowed in 9 2/3 innings) and he’s faced the Pirates twice which resulted in no-decisions for him but two D-Backs wins.
The betting odds opened with Pittsburgh at -140 and have slid to -125. Even we agree the original number was probably too high, however, for our MLB picks we like the fact the Bucs are 20-7 on Friday’s, which would generally mean they take the first game of a series importantly and the Diamondbacks are 25-46 since last year off a victory.
MLB Pick – Pittsburgh -125
Two Ways to Bet the Angels Tonight
Normally the first month of the season, betting big numbers is not a wise method of wagering, because patterns have yet to be established and teams like the New York Mets for example win 11 straight home games.
Nevertheless, when a team is so desperate for starting pitching they would sign a washed up Wandy Rodriguez like Texas has, you have to pay attention. The 36-year was pitching in Triple-A for the Rangers before being recalled, but his last several seasons his pitches have been like a piñata, very easy to hit. With the Angels Garrett Richards making his second start since last August’s knee surgery and showing no ill effects, the Halos are -180 money line home favorites. Though the number is large, Rodriguez is 6-21 in road games vs. teams whose hitters draw three walks or less a game since 1997. (Team's record)
If you would prefer to lower your risk and improve your pay day, Los Angeles’ current run line price is +120 and Richards is 18-9 on the RL as a starter. Plus, AL home favorites on the RL with an on-base percentage of .320 or less and off a shutout win are 38-9. (Run line system works 15 cents either way from present value)
MLB Pick – L.A.A. Angels on the ML or RL (-1.5 +120)