We will consider Sunday's MLB odds and attempt to determine what pitchers and his teams have to do to win and possibly make somebody happy with sports picks backing an underdog
Pirates vs. Braves: Alex Wood Hopes to Solve the Pirates
Atlanta ended their three-game losing streak last night and for the moment cooled off Pittsburgh. The Braves will now seek a ‘feel good’ series win and to get them back to .500. Alex Wood (4-2, 3.19) is being entrusted to take down Pittsburgh and the betting odds have him and Atlanta as +130, though I did see GT Bets had them at +140.
After a stumbling start, Wood has worked his way back into a very good groove winning three straight starts behind a 1.23 ERA. In each case he’s lasted at least seven innings. Wood has a deceptive delivery which is a little funky, but he throws strikes with low 90’s fastball which has good running action when he keeps it around the knees. His slider has late-biting action and a slightly above average split-change.
As strong as Wood have been his mound foe has been even better as Gerrit Cole (8-2, 1.90) has fashioned a 0.81 ERA in last trio of starts and fanned 26 batters in 22 1/3 innings, walking only three. While Cole is 4-1 on the road, Wood has not tasted victory in three attempts at Turner Field and his ERA is 6.19.
Chances are these two will both throw well but the Pirates have the superior bullpen and find a way to win.
Disadvantage – Wood and Atlanta
Giants vs. Phillies: O’Sullivan Will Need the Luck of the Irish to beat San Francisco
Sean O'Sullivan (1-4, 5.03) has to come through on for Philadelphia to avoid being swept by the Giants. First he has to throw a very good game against a much better quality who has won nine of 11 versus his Phillies and 11 of 14 in Philadelphia. He also needs to last deep in the game because the last two starters in the series have combined to throw only seven innings. "We need length from our starting pitchers," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Some of our bullpen guys have pitched a lot. ... To get length out of our starters, that's very important going forward."
Easy for the manager to say and O’Sullivan has conceded 11 runs in 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts, which sounds like more the same for Philadelphia. The right-hander has been quite vulnerable to lefty batters who are ripping him for a robust .377 average and he’s given up a .300 batting average during the day.
Baseball handicappers are well aware O’Sullivan is better suited as a long reliever or swing man but because the Phillies have few options, for now he’s getting the ball every five or six days. The Phils are a +130 home underdog and they will see Ryan Vogelsong (4-3, 4.26) for San Fran and are 13-29 against a NL starting pitcher whose ERA is 3.50 to 4.30 the last two seasons.
Disadvantage – O’Sullivan and Philadelphia
Mets vs. Diamondbacks: Collmenter Tries to Give Arizona Series Triumph
The Diamondbacks have won the last two games over New York and go after the series win with Josh Collmenter (3-5, 5.03), who hasn't won in his last five outings, going 0-2 with a 7.83 ERA. Despite what does not look like a very good situation versus the Mets, Arizona is only a +100 underdog in MLB odds to Jacob deGrom (6-4, 2.41), who is 3-0 with a 0.92 mark over his last four outings.
What makes Arizona a somewhat attractive as a pooch is they have four of five, while New York has one victory in same span. New York has been a bad road outfit at 9-19 and they are 4-16 in away games versus teams who strike out seven or more times a game this season. With Collmenter and friends 8-1 after a game where he did not walk a batter since last year, for MLB picks this might be worth a look.
Slight Advantage – Collmenter and Arizona