Pitcher Report Card for Thursday's MLB Action

John Ryan

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 5:43 PM GMT

Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2014 5:43 PM GMT

The Milwaukee Brewers face the Cardinals in St. Louis, and we highlight our free MLB pick for you. Tomorrow's game between the LA Dodgers and Minnesota Twins has been carefully studied, as the betting odds are complex. We dissect the strengths and weaknesses, helping you find the best value.

Winning Pick
I had recommended not playing the Phillies last night in their game against the Mets and it was for good cause. The Mets defeated the Phillies 6-1 in a game that featured very poor weather conditions. It is rare that I ever negate a recommendation, but this is part of the preparation program I am teaching with these daily articles.  

Today's game with Garza on the hill for the Brewers is valid as outlined in yesterday's published report. These articles will overlap one another so always be sure to check the newest edition to get validation of all MLB plays and picks recommended.  

So, play Milwaukee with Garza boxed for the early Wednesday card.  

 

Thursday Plays 
For early Thursday action I like playing the Dodgers with Dan Haren on the hill facing the Minnesota Twins set to start at 1:10 PM ET. The Dodgers are not quite where I expected them to be at at this stage of the season. They are only 2-games over 0.500, but are a solid 8-3 in road tilts. They simply are not getting the clutch run scoring hits, but I do believe they will steadily play better and will win the West.  

The Dodgers pitching, though, has exceeded my expectations, ranking fifth with a 3.12 ERA, 10th with 15 quality starts, 9th with a 1.22 WHIP and 7th posting a 0.224 opponent batting average. Many of those quality starts have been attained by Dan Haren. 

Dan Haren is off to a strong start posting a 3-0 record in five starts with a 2.03 ERA walking just 4 batters while striking out 27 batters spanning 31 innings of work. He is not an over-poweringly dominant pitcher, but he has great movement on his fastball, and induces more ground ball outs than fly ball outs. As a result, he has allowed just 2 home runs on the season. In a no-decision Thursday, Haren allowed three runs (one earned) on seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts against the Phillies.  

One player on the Twins that has had strong success against Haren is Joe Mauer, who is batting 0.385 with 6 RBI and 1 HR in 26 AB in his career. I am not all that concerned with him as there is no one in the Twins lineup that can protect Mauer. So, with the chances of no one on base when he comes up to the plate, it allows Haren to throw his 'stuff' to get him out. If he reaches base, it is not all that bad, taking the guys batting behind him in the lineup into consideration.  

Pelfry starts for the Twins, and he has not been anywhere close to the dominant type starter he was with the Mets. He was available out of the pen, but did not pitch in the Sunday game. He had been penciled in for the Tuesday start, but was moved to this matchup Wednesday. 

He has started four games and posted a horrid 7.32 ERA, allowing five HR, walking 15 batters and striking out just 8 batters. His control is terrible, and when he does throw strikes they are up in the zone where batters can attack and drive pitches. This is reflected in his very poor ground ball-to-fly ball ratio. Until he gets his ratio favoring ground ball outs, there is no reason to believe he will suddenly become a dominant starter.  

Free MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers boxed with Dan Haren Thursday. 

[gameodds]3/263154/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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