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MLB Picks for May 11th – Dodgers Pirates

The Josh Johnson v Roy Halliday duel lived up to the advance billing, and in the end, it was the Marlins (though technically not Johnson) who earned the win – even though it was Halliday who threw a complete game.

It’s one of those statistical anomalies that are more common to Halliday than nearly any other pitcher in baseball; the complete game loss. The iron-armed righty threw 115 pitches and gave up just two runs in eight innings (the Marlins didn’t need to bat in the ninth, hence the ‘complete game’), but it was one too many as the Fish escaped with a 2-1 victory.

It may just be a game in May, but symbolically it means a little more down in South Florida. The win is essentially a two-game swing in the standings with the team they will assuredly be chasing all season. Instead of falling four back, they instead narrow the gap to two by beating arguably the best pitcher alive on a night when he was pitching well.

Great game down in South Florida, and though I suffered only my second loss in eight picks – I’m still glad I DVR’d it…

Ok, let’s get down to business and back to picking winners with today’s free picks.

Today’s Free Major League Baseball Picks:

Los Angeles Dodgers -105 @ Pittsburgh Pirates -115 (Total: 7.5)
Hiroki Karuda (3-3, 3.69 ERA) v. Paul Maholm (1-4, 3.68 ERA)

The Pirates have been a pleasant surprise all season long. Sure, they are only one game over .500, but when your franchise has gone 18 seasons without posting a winning record, you take the small victories when they come. Tonight, long-time Pirate lefty Paul Maholm looks to improve on his tough-luck 1-4 record hosting the visiting and slumping Dodgers.

Pittsburgh has been playing pretty good baseball, and I wouldn’t be opposed to taking the Pirates at -115 to win, however, there are two trends converging that are too alluring to ignore. The Pirates have gone UNDER in 7 of their last 8 games. The Dodgers, have gone UNDER in 7 of their last 8 games. With two starters with sub-4.00 ERAs taking the mound, I’m hard pressed to see any good reason to go against that trend tonight.

The TOTAL at 7.5 should be in the neighborhood of even money (+100) if you like the under (based on the fact the run total falls more at an “8” statistically). I still like the Pirates, but I like the UNDER wager more, and that’s my official play tonight.

PICK: Total UNDER 7.5 (+100)

Tampa Bay Rays -130 @ Cleveland Indians +100 (Total: 8 )
David Price (4-2, 3.26 ERA) vs. Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 4.97 ERA)

Something has to give tonight when two of the top teams (perhaps surprisingly so) square off tonight. The Indians have won 21 of 26 at home, while Tampa Bay has reeled off 10 of 11 on the road. Both numbers are incredible – and of course, they directly oppose each other…

To me, the difference tonight, is Tampa Bay’s ace taking the hill, David Price. Price has been very good, not “unhittable”, but very good, so far this season, but is capable of throwing a string of zeros on the board anytime he takes the mound. His ERA of 3.26 is impressive, but his WHIP of 1.13 is even more so. Price isn’t prone to giving up the long ball, and has good command of his pitches and avoids putting too many free runners on base. That’s a pretty good recipe for success.

Meanwhile Cleveland has a bit more of a wildcard on the hill in Carrasco (even more so if they scratch him and start Jeanmar Gomez). I like the Rays to continue their recent success over the Tribe (they won 7 of 9 last season), and really like that you can get an ace like Price on the mound at a good, well, pardon the pun, price (-130).

PICK: Tampa Bay Rays to WIN (-130)