I split my MLB picks last night with the Cubs falling short in a longshot upset pick, but the total runs remaining under 7.5 to split the picks and emerge unscathed. Tonight, I’ll keep my picks in the hyper-competitive National League Central with two teams that have a little bad blood brewing in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. It was pretty obviously not intentional (why do people think Aroldis Chapman is trying to hit people? He’s a closer – which means he is rarely in situations where hitting someone, even if desired, would be feasible. He also has pretty shaky control at times…), but when Aroldis Chapman put one under the chin with about half an inch to spare, it makes you wonder if we will see yet another retaliation pitch tonight.
These two had a bean brawl war earlier when Pittsburgh responded to Andrew McCutchen’s plunking by returning the favor to Brandon Phillips. It will be interesting to see if cooler (and more rational) heads prevail tonight, or if some chin music might be heading in Phillips or Votto’s direction tonight…
Pittsburgh Pirates +170 at Cincinnati Reds -180 (Total: 8)
Charlie Morton (0-1, 3.60 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (6-0, 3.08 ERA)
Mat Latos is perfect on the season at 6-0, and the Reds are an impressive 10-4 in games in which he has started this season. He has been especially good at home, which is a little counter-intuitive considering Great American Ballpark’s reputation as being extremely hitter-friendly. He will be countered tonight by the Pirates Charlie Morton, who is making just his second start on the season.
Morton is returning from Tommy John surgery, but is no stranger to facing the Reds. This will be his 13th start against them. He is just 4-6 with a 4.27 ERA lifetime against them. He will definitely have his work cut out for him tonight facing a powerful Reds lineup that hit four homeruns last night, as well as Latos on the hill likely holding the Pirates to a low run output.
Cincinnati is fantastic at home this season, posting a 25-12 record. They are only 3-4 against Pittsburgh this season, but all but last night’s game was played in PNC Park in Pittsburgh. I like the Reds to continue to tally some runs tonight and to pick up where they left off the last three years against Charlie Morton. The -180 line doesn’t have a ton of value in it, but I do like the Reds behind a shutdown performance from Mat Latos on the -1.5 run line at +115.
Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds -1.5 (+115)