Tuesday's Pitcher Report: Hurlers Looking to Support Hot Teams

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 1:57 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 21, 2015 1:57 PM UTC

In looking at today's baseball standings, three teams having winning streaks of four or more games which should catch the eye of any baseball handicapper surveying the MLB odds.

In reviewing each starting pitcher for these clubs, do you - ride the tide - or think contrarian, believing their good fortune is about to end? That is the question one has to answer three times before making MLB picks and we will do our best to put you in the right situation.


Rays vs. Phillies: Phillies Look to First-Time Starter to Extend Streak
Tonight, energy meets excitement in the City of Brotherly Love as the Phillies go after their second five-game winning streak of the season and have the debut of Aaron Nola. The seventh overall pick of the 2014 draft, Nola will become the first Philadelphia player since Pat Combs 26 years ago to debut in the majors the year after he was drafted. The former LSU stud turned 22 last month and is rated the No. 2 prospect in the organization after going 10-4 with a 2.39 ERA this year at Triple-A.

In baseball circles, the right-hander is not as highly regarded, at least from an overall potential standpoint. He possess a low-90's fastball, which he adds and subtracts off of, which shows polish. His breaking pitches are inconsistent and at 6'1 and a couple clicks under 200 pounds, most scouts feel his ceiling is not very high.

After being the worst offensive-team in the majors, the Phillies have been hitting more of late and have averaged 4.4 runs per game since being shutout in consecutive contests seven games ago, which explains why sportsbooks betting odds are down to +115 for Philadelphia with a rookie pitcher.

This is a game Philadelphia has no business winning, but Tampa Bay's offense has gone cold again in averaging 2.6 RPG in last seven and they are 9-22 in road games after batting .225 or worse over a 10-game span since 2013. Would love to pick the Phils but the Rays are a modestly better choice for MLB picks.

Slight Disadvantage - Nola and Philadelphia

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Twins vs. Angels: Angels Try to Stay Heavenly with Shoemaker
After months of mediocrity, the Angels of Anaheim have upped their game, winning five straight and 15 of 18 to surge from third to first place in the AL West. They will try and keep building on that streak with Matt Shoemaker (4-7, 4.85 ERA) taking the ball. The 28-year old righty has not matched last season's stunning success, but he's been steadily improving, logging a 3.35 ERA in his past eight starts, but does not have much to show because he's only had 13 runs of support.His fastball is in 90-91 MPH range and is known as fly-ball pitcher, with a good split-finger pitch.

The Halos are around -150 home favorites (-143 at Wagerweb earlier today) and are a solid 29-18 (+7.4 units) at the Big A. They will face Minnesota's Kyle Gibson (8-6, 2.85), who has a sizzling 1.90 ERA in his last six road starts but is 0-1 with a 7.80 ERA in his three outings against L.A.A. While I'm a big fan of Gibson's, the way Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and the rest of Angels are swinging, I will not go against them since they are 17-3 after scoring seven runs or more in two straight games the last three seasons.

Advantage - Shoemaker and L.A.A. Angels

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Giants vs. Padres: Padres Turn to Despaigne to Continue Torrid Stretch
Though San Diego has a ways to go to reach .500, they have cut that goal in half with a five-game winning streak. Having cooled off San Francisco who had won six in a row, the Padres will attempt to make it five straight, eight of nine and 14 of 19 over the Giants at Petco Park.

Odrisamer Despaigne (3-6, 4.64) will be entrusted to complete the task for the Friars and he has a 0.91 ERA in five games - four starts - against San Fran. However, he and the Padres are +120 home underdogs against Chris Heston (9-5, 3.39), who leads all rookie hurlers in wins, ERA and WHIP (1.20). Heston is on top of his game lately with a 4-1 record in his last seven starts with a 2.12 ERA.

The Giants have been streaky all season, thus it is hard to get a good read on them off a loss, but given Despaigne's success versus San Francisco and the confidence they display against the World Series champs in their own yard, for MLB picks the Pads can do this again.

Slight Advantage - Despaigne and San Diego

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