Reds vs. Pirates MLB Pick – August 1st

We grabbed a winner last night with the A’s downing the hapless Giants 8-5. Sonny Gray was slated to start for the A’s, but was obviously scratched with his last-second deadline deal to the Yankees. His replacement Paul Blackburn gave up some runs, but kept the A’s in it long enough for Semien’s grand slam to edge them past the reeling Giants. In yesterday’s column, I mentioned the pick was far less about Gray than it was about fading Matt Cain. If you went in AFTER the pitching change, you probably got a little leaner odds and a nicer payday.

Let’s see if we can keep it going the day after some of the trade deadline dust has settled. The big news in the National League was the richer getting even more ridiculously richer; the Dodgers landing Yu Darvish, making their postseason rotation, assuming the healthy return of Clayton Kershaw, absolutely frightening. If they weren’t the overwhelming NL Favorites before (and they were) they REALLY are now… Though remember, no matter how imposing the favorite, it’s baseball, and a short series against either the Cubs, who added Quintana, and the Nats, who already have Scherzer, Gio and Strasburg (again, assuming healthy return…), is no free pass to the Fall Classic.

Today’s MLB Pick:

Cincinnati Reds +157 at Pittsburgh Pirates -165 (Total: 8.5)
Homer Bailey (2-5, 8.37 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (6-4, 4.03 ERA)

Why not go to a well that has been fruitful the last two weeks once again to start a new week off with some success? The Reds have been absolutely dreadful since the All Star Break, losing 13 of 16 games and finding a way to lose all but a few by multiple runs. They rank last in the league in starting pitching ERA, last in the league in bullpen ERA, and are sending a guy to the mound with an ERA over eight. It all adds up to a huge Pirates advantage, and the Vegas line reflects such.

However, the runline, given Cincinnati’s recent history for losing both straight up and on the runline, remains an excellent value at +130. Taillon is coming off one of the worst outings of his career, allowing nine runs, and he is just 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in his brief career against the Reds. Homer Bailey has been excellent in PNC Park, going 5-2 with a 2.58 ERA in nine starts, including his no-hitter (one of two) in 2012. However, things have changed a LOT for Homer since 2012. He hasn’t been healthy in three years, and now that he is, things are not going well. Prior to last starts disaster, Taillon had delivered quality starts in four of his last five outings, posting an ERA in the mid-two’s.

I’ll take the Pirates at home, and will grab some value on the +130 run line. Maybe this is the start Homer’s quality history against Pittsburgh helps him turn the corner and get back to respectability, but until I see it, I’m fading both him and the Reds.



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