Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:45 AM EST.
7:15 PM EST. Joe Musgrove (RHP - PITT) pounds the zone constantly with heaters, though with enough tact to hit the edges instead of conceding the heart of the zone. His 5% walk rate from 2018 was no fluke and while he’s walked 11 over his past 26 frames, his 61% first-pitch strike rate (70% last start) suggests he’s not struggling at all with control. Those walks will come down. Musgrove has a 3.67 ERA and he’s accomplished that with a very low and unlucky 64% strand rate. His strand rate over his last five games is even worse at 52%. Musgrove has upper-tier command sub-indicators and a outstanding batted ball profile too. At the end of the day, the value here on Musgrove and the pesky Pirates is too good to pass up on, even against the Dodgers.
Pittsburgh remains one of the best teams in the majors in putting the ball in play. The chart below is the total number of times a team has struck out.
You’ll notice that the best teams in the game, Boston Houston, L.A. Dodgers and Minnesota are all among the league leaders in fewest strikeouts and right there also are the Pirates. That makes them a very live underdog because they put the ball in play so often.
The Dodgers will send out the early favorite for this year’s Cy Young winner in the NL but he’s not winning it unless his extreme luck continues. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LHP - LA) will carry a 1.52 ERA into this game after nine starts and 52 innings. While we absolutely acknowledge that Ryu is good, he’s not this good. He has outstanding control with just four walks issued in 52 innings but his batted ball profile of 44% grounders, 26% line-drives and 30% fly-balls is about league average. The 26% line-drives is below league average. Ryu’s BABIP is an unsustainable .233. The league average is .299. His strand percentage is an off the charts lucky 89% and 91% over his last five games. Last year, Ryu missed three months with a groin injury. On either side of that absence, he had short bursts of brilliance like he’s having now but short bursts is what he’s been delivering his entire career. Ryu spent 105 more days on the DL last year, which brings his five-year total to 524. If you bet on "more innings than DL days," you would have lost 3 times in 5 years. He’s 32 years-old and one has to believe that something is hurting on his body or that his extreme good fortune is in line for a correction. Either way, the Dodgers are a big time overlay here.
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PITTSBURGH +168 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.36)