Refine Tuesday's MLB Picks by Handicapping Starting Pitchers

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 3:50 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 5, 2015 3:50 PM UTC

Today's Pitching Report includes blasts from the past & hurlers coming off rough outings, making either a difficult choice for MLB picks. Let’s dive into the betting odds & surmise how they will do.

Phillies Have More Retread Pitchers than Discount Tire
Chad Billingsley is set to make his first MLB appearance since April 15, 2013, with the Los Angeles Dodgers as he will start for Philadelphia tonight. The former Dodger stud has been injury-prone and underwent Tommy John surgery AND tore a flexor tendon in his elbow during rehab. It has been a long journey for the right-hander, who signed a one-year deal with Phillies in January. "It's going to be really fun," Billingsley told MLB's official website. "I've missed that part of the game, having my mind worry about (hitters) and not worrying about this (elbow). I'm just really happy and relieved. This is all in the past now."

The still only 30-year Billingsley is getting a chance with Cliff Lee out for the season and David Buchanan back in the minors and joins a staff that had pitchers Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams and Dustin McGowan, who have been around the proverbial block.

On the presumption Billingsley survives his warm up session (I’m just sayin’), he and the Phils are +145 road underdogs at Atlanta, who after a terrifying 2-11 start on the road have taken the last two. At best the Billingsley would figure to reach 75 to 80 pitches and it is very challenging to think believe Philly will handle Braves starter Shelby Miller (3-1, 2.17 ERA) and beat the MLB odds.

Grade – B (For Atlanta)


How Does Bartolo Colon Do This?
Bartolo Colon (4-1, 3.31) will be 42 years old this month and yet to the amazement of people placing MLB Picks everywhere, not just an innings-eater, but someone with a viable chance to win every time he starts. If this was the –Steroids Era- like when Roger Clemons was finishing up his career at the same age, we would know what to think. But Colon we can only imagine has been tested numerous times and obviously passed on each occasions.

Besides the fact of his age, he’s listed at 5’11, 285 pounds and in this age of starting pitchers needing at least three pitches to survive going through a batting order three times or more, Colon uses his fastball (a couple of variations) over 80 percent of the time and still retires opposing hitters.

This evening, Colon and New York are -120 home favorite at wagering outlets like in interleague action against Baltimore. This was supposed to be the start of a road trip for the Orioles but they just took a “home” series in Tampa Bay and are on a 5-1 roll. The Mets lost the last two of the series to Washington, but are 10-0 as home faves of -110 or higher in 2015. Plus, Colon has been a true stopper, with his team’s 14-3 off two or more defeats when he starts since 2013.

Grade – B (For New York)


Which Starting Pitcher Bounces Back in Chi-Town?
After posting a sensational start in his first three starts of the season, Shane Greene (3-1, 4.60) has been clobbered for 15 runs in just over eight innings in his past two outings for Detroit and has a fairly important game tonight to reverse this negative trend. Chicago Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 4.78) had a very slow start, but got back in the groove with a couple of very good quality starts. He was the White Sox starting pitcher in the ‘no fans’ game in Baltimore and was rocked for six runs in the first inning and was the sacrificial lamb to save the bullpen, lasting five innings in surrendering eight runs on 10 hits in the 8-2 drubbing.

Which thrower is more likely to return to the winner’s circle? While each pitcher’s future performance is an unknown, the Tigers have the better team and Greene in his short career as a starter is still 7-0 in road games vs. an AL team with an on-base percentage .330 or worse the last two seasons. (Team's record) Just keep in mind for sports picks, the reason the Yankees moved him; Greene is either very good or not very good, just like what he’s shown this year.

Samardzija has been more about how he looks than actual results and the MLB Odds have his team at -115. When in this role the past two seasons the former Golden Domer is 0-7 at home with a money line of -100 to -125. (Team's record)

Grade – D (For Detroit)

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