Today I am taking the San Diego Padres to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates as a small underdog. A.J. Burnett has been solid this year so far for the Pirates and Ian Kennedy has had some struggles for the Padres, but I like the value on San Diego for my MLB picks.
The MLB odds makers have made the Padres a small underdog at +105. With Burnett coming in with lights out numbers on top of the fact, and the Pirates being on a nice winning streak, this line makes sense. Still, even with their recent downswing, but with a win yesterday, the Padres are a good team in this spot.
Burnett comes in with a 1.37 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, really impressive. But as we look at his starts we begin to see a consistent trend of the kind of teams he has faced, the kind of the not good hitting variety. Burnett, in his nine starts this year he has faced one top ten team in runs scored per game, Arizona, and one team in the upper half of the league, Detroit. The other seven starts were against teams in the lower half of the league in offensive production, and in three of his last four starts he faced the three of the worst offenses in the league in the Mets, Phillies, and Reds. Kennedy comes in with a 6.11 ERA and 1.39 WHIP but is showing signs of turning things around. Unlike Burnett he has faced some of the best offenses in the league in L.A. (twice), Washington, and Colorado (fourth in slugging). In his last start he was sharp allowing only two earned runs in six innings against the Dodgers.
At the bat
As far as season averages go, neither the Pirates nor the Padres have been spectacular with most stats in the middle part of the league rankings. But in the last three games both teams have been much more productive and rank in the top five in the league in slugging, on base %, and runs.
I can see why the odds makers would make the Pirates the favorite with their streak and Burnett having a good year so far. I think he will face a much stiffer test today though in the Padres and Kennedy has shown signs of improvement. With good value on a good team, take the Padres with your MLB picks.