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Pirates vs. Tigers Pick MLB – June 30th

We took a loss last night and paid our penance for ranking the Orioles offense above the potential disaster that is Bud Norris. Air Bud delivered last night, surrendering five runs on four home runs (“Hey, at least three of the four were solo-shots! – said in my cheesiest FM-DJ voice), and it was too much for the O’s to withstand. It’s hard to see Norris lasting too much longer in the rotation unless their farm system is just absolutely bereft of arms…

Let’s see if we can get it back on track today with a nice slate of games from which to select. There’s Royals vs. Astros in a surprising battle of division leaders, you have Yankees and Angles in the late 10:05 mlb.tv game, there’s Chris Sale taking on the best team in the bigs, St. Louis and trying to keep his historic strikeout streak intact against one of the more disciplined and mature lineups in baseball. It’s going to be a really fun night of MLB action, so let’s dive in to today’s free pick.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Pittsburgh Pirates -111 at Detroit Tigers +103 (Total: 7)

Gerrit Cole (11-3, 2.16 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (0-1, 6.17 ERA)

Cole is looking to rebound from his roughest start of the season after getting roughed up in a rare loss to the Cincinnati Reds, but aside from his last start, he has been as dominant as any pitcher in baseball. In fact, if you throw out his two tough outings against the Reds, he has a 1.33 ERA on the season. He will look to get back on the line with Scherzer for the front runner for NL All Star starter with a good outing tonight.

Opposing him will be a guy who is no stranger to starting All-Star Games, World Series Games, winning MVP’s and dating swimsuit models, Justin Verlander. Only right now, Justin Verlander isn’t exactly “Justin Verlander.” He is making his third start of the season and hasn’t looked anywhere close to the former MVP of old so far. In fact, since his historic 2013 season, he is just 28-25 with a 4.03 ERA – far from dominant stuff. He will be pitching at home tonight against a team his mates have fared well against this season, but it is still hard to give him the edge over Cole.

The most attractive thing about this game to me is the line. I can get a guy, on a good team, with a 1.33 ERA and only lay minimal juice at -111? That’s a great deal. Get past the opposing names; “Tigers” and “Verlander” and you see a game that should be tilted much more in favor of the Buccos. The Tigers are basically a .500 team right not. Verlander is basically a .500 pitcher. And Gerrit Cole is dominant.

I’ll take the Pirates tonight laying a slim line.

Free Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates to WIN -111