It was a rough day with our baseball picks with a pair of underdogs coming up short. Blame yesterday on Washington’s bullpen, as they had a nice comfortable 6-2 lead over the Orioles, only to fall in pathetic 9-6 fashion. Their bullpen, formerly considered a strength of the club, is now 19th in MLB with a 4.12 ERA and cost them yet another win yesterday.
We will try to rebound tonight with a look at one of the better, if not more overlooked, interleague matchups between two of the best teams in baseball, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
Today’s Free Pick:
Detroit Tigers -116 at Pittsburgh Pirates +126 (Total: 8)
Doug Fister (5-2, 3.65 ERA) vs. Jeff Locke (5-1, 2.45 ERA)
The Tigers are pretty big road favorites today, largely on the strength of Doug Fister paired with the potent Tiger lineup. But overlooking lefty Jeff Locke might be a bot foolhardy. The young lefty has been fantastic this season, posting a 5-1 record and a microscopic 2.45 ERA and very good 1.14 WHIP.
His last three starts have been fantastic, posting a 2-0 record while his team is a perfect 3-0, and his ERA has shrunk to a miniscule 1.41. Yes, the Tigers lineup is fearsome, but overlook Locke at your own peril. Fister has been good this season as well, though perhaps not quite as sharp as Tiger fans might have hoped. There was some anticipation that Fister could become that dominant number two starter to follow Verlander, but his last three starts have been just OK; he is 1-1, his team is 1-2 and his ERA of 4.49 and WHIP of 1.42 are pretty pedestrian.
The differentiator between these two teams is their offensive acumen. The Tigers are first in all of baseball with a .280 team average. Meanwhile, the Pirates are 24th at .242. Runs scored is a similar story; the Tigers are 2nd with 268. The Pirates are 19th with 208 runs scored.
My point with these statistics is simply this; both teams have good pitchers going tonight with the Pirates having a slight edge, especially given Locke’s performance of late. That tells me that there is a good chance the Tigers have a slightly lower offensive output on the road against a top-flight starter. It also indicated that the Pirates might have some difficulty against Fister, whom they have never seen before.
I assumed the run total line would be 7 when I first saw the pitching matchup. Instead, I can get this game at 8, and that bodes well for the UNDER.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 8