Picks Of The Day, April 8th

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Mark Lathrop

Saturday, April 8, 2017 3:28 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 8, 2017 3:28 PM UTC

It’s been a first week of fits and starts for our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, but he’s found a few teams that come in compromised to their Saturday matchups against superior foes.

Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers

After an extra-innings upset win as a home underdog, the Milwaukee Brewers look to wrap up a winning series against the NL Central favorite, Chicago Cubs. They bring soft-throwing Tommy Milone to the mound to get that done.

Tommy Milone is your prototypical AAAA player, dominant when sent down to the minors and barely serviceable when in the major leagues. Take last year with the Twins as an example, where Malone put up a 1.66 ERA in seven starts in AAA just to come up to the big-league team and get shelled to the tune of a 5.71 ERA and 21.4% HR/FB rate. He throws a fastball in the high-80’s, while his changeup comes in at about 80 mph. Most elite changeups have about a 12 mph or more difference in velocity, and Milone’s fastball isn’t good enough to get him there.

Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs is in the same boat in regards to changeup vs. fastball velocity. However, Hendricks still threw his changeup 27% of the time last year to fantastic success. On the year, he posted a 2.13 ERA over 30 starts. It’s the 3rd year in a row of great success for Hendricks, and he can be trusted much more than Tommy Milone. As the Cubs are rightful favorites, I’m looking to a taxed bullpen of the Brewers as a reason to lay the run line on the Baby Bears. I’ll be taking Chicago -1.5 runs at Pinnacle as one of my Saturday night MLB Picks.

Free MLB Pick: Chicago -1.5 Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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Atlanta Braves vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Atlanta played a sloppy game on Friday night with 2 errors and its starter not making in past the 4th inning. Now they bring knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey to the mound, who will be asked to eat a bunch of innings after Atlanta used their bullpen heavily last night.

R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball lost a bit of its shine last year with Toronto, as the 42-year-old posted his worst HardHit% and HR/FB% since his 2006 season with the Texas Rangers. This could be the last stop for the pitcher, as he finds himself on a rebuilding Atlanta team that is projected to be near last in the NL East. Being on a young team will only help Dickey in the terms of outfield defense, but they currently sit 27th in the MLB in overall offense. For a pitcher bound to give up a few runs that is not a good thing.

Luckily for Dickey, the Pirates sit 28th in overall offense, but I am much more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt this early in the season. They are striking out nearly half as often and taking walks nearly double the rate of Atlanta. On the mound is Chad Kuhl today, who has found success in each of his minor league stops and was more than serviceable in his 2016 cup of coffee with the Pirates. A reasonable home field line has value here, so I am taking Pittsburgh on the full game moneyline of -133 at Pinnacle as another Saturday MLB Pick.

Free MLB Pick: Pittsburgh -133Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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