With Burnett on the Mound, Confidently Take Pirates with Your MLB Picks Against Padres

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, May 28, 2015 2:21 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Pirates meet the San Diego Padres tonight at 10:00 pm. There's a clear pitching mismatch and I'm going to analyze what can be expected tonight before I give my MLB pick for this matchup.

Pittsburgh Pirates (Burnett) (-120) vs. San Diego Padres (Kennedy) 10:10 ET
The Pirates begin the first of 10 away games as they open a 4-game set against the San Diego Padres, and they're listed as the favorites on the MLB odds for tonight. These teams have yet to play this season. But we are eager to step in with the Pirates, despite the east to west travel, which will have them playing this game at 10:00 pm body time. In doing so, we will be backing a pitching mismatch with the hottest team in the league.

This season the Padres have changed stripes. In recent years, they were one of the poorest hitting teams in MLB (due in no small part to the dimensions of pitcher friendly, Petco Park). This year, the Padres have increased their offense to a .685 OPS. But, their usual strong pitching, led by a perennially strong bullpen has tanked to a .768 OPS. In the previous 3 seasons, the Padres have been a consistent losing team with 76, 76 and 77 victories. It appears they are headed to that win total again this season with their current 23-25 record. This will be notably below their projected 84 victories. On their behalf, they return to Petco having won 3 of 4 since Sunday against the LA Dodgers and LA Angels, outscoring their in-state opponents, 23-15. That was preceded, however, by a 1-7 slide in which they scored just 13 runs. Tonight’s starting pitcher Kennedy is given the task of slowing the booming Buc bats. But, San Diego has won just 2 of his 7 starts in which he has a 6.11 ERA.  Recently, Kennedy is 0-4 with an ERA of 7.47 in his previous 3 starts. That is not a very good resume when facing an improved Pittsburgh offense.  

The Pirates languished for the first 40 games of the season with an 18-22 record. Ripped by manager Clint Hurdle for underachieving, Pittsburgh responded with 6 consecutive home victories against the Mets and Miami. In those 6 six wins, they have outscored the opposition 35-9, averaging 6.1 RPG in the last 5 games. They may not need that many with Burnett on the mound.  Burnett is making the most of his last season in the MLB, having already announced his retirement at the end of this season. Currently, Burnett is 4-1 with a microscopic 1.37 ERA.  Recently, Burnett has gone 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last 4 starts. This includes allowing just 1 run with 10 Ks in an 8-2 victory vs. the Mets in his previous start.

In the previous 2 seasons, the Pirates have won 94 and 88 games. They were expected to challenge St. Louis for the NL Central crown again this season.  Now, that the bats have begun to boom, this is strong spot to back them against a mound opponent who is clearly struggling. With a hot starter of their own in Burnett, for our MLB picks, we're backing the hottest team in the National League at a value price on the road in a park where San Diego is just 11-12 this season.  

MLB Pick: Take Pittsburgh Pirates at Wagerweb.

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