It’s been a rough week for MLB picks, as yesterday was the third losing day out of four, as both the Reds and Braves continued their losing ways despite finally scoring some runs. We will try to salvage a terrible week of baseball picks with a pair of winners today. As it is Sunday, all games are in the afternoon except for ESPN’s Sunday night game, so the first pick will be a day game.
Philadelphia Phillies -117 at New York Mets +109 (Total: 6.5)
Cole Hamels vs.(0-3, 5.40 ERA) Jon Niese (2-1, 3.81 ERA)
It’s hard to believe, but the Phillies are 0-5 as a team with Cole Hamels on the mound this season, and record-contract signing lefty has been absolutely miserable so far this season. His ERA is up around five and a half and his WHIP is at 1.33. He has been struggling to keep guys off base and has been struggling, obviously, to keep his team in a position to win ball games.
Jon Niese hasn’t been perfect or brilliant by any stretch, but has managed to forge a winning record. Interestingly, the Phillies offense hit much better than the Mets this season, posting .258 to .241 team batting average advantages.
I like the value of the Mets as an underdog today. I think the potential for a Hamels break though and the name recognition has the line squeezed a little lower than in should be. I also like both teams to dent the plate plenty, making that 6 ½ run total seem pretty vulnerable. Most books have it at 7, but there are still a few online posting it at 6 ½ – if you can get the extra half-run, take it.
Free Pick: New York Mets to WIN +107 & Run TOTAL OVER 6 ½
Atlanta Braves +135 vs. Detroit Tigers -144 (Total: 7.5)
Mike Minor (3-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (3-0, 2.00 ERA)
The Braves definitely didn’t want to find themselves heading into Sunday night needing to beat Fister in order to avoid a sweep, but that’s exactly where they find themselves tonight. The NL East has tightened up rapidly, with the Nationals poised to sweep a four-game set with the Reds today and the Braves struggling, their 5 game lead has shrunk rapidly and could be just 1 ½ games by the end of the evening.
Both teams are throwing talented and hot pitchers. Minor has posted a 3-1 record and a 1.80 ERA, with his worst start being his last outing when he allowed three runs against Colorado in 23 degree temperatures… so I’d throw that game out, as it was pretty ridiculous baseball weather. Meanwhile, Fister has been just as good for Detroit, who has a 2-0 record and a 1.23 ERA in his last three outings. During that stretch he has allowed only 21 people to reach base in his 22 innings (that’s an average of 7.3 innings per start – impressive).
I like both starters to pitch well tonight, despite quality opposing lineups. I am surprised this over/under line isn’t 6.5, but since I can get it as high as 7.5, I’ll take the UNDER. This feels like a 2-1 or 3-2 type ball game to me.
Free Pick: Run Total UNDER 7.5