Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:45 PM EST
Pittsburgh +126 over CINCINNATI
6:40 PM EST. Everybody knows that Pittsburgh is the worst team in the majors with 14 wins in 46 games. The Pirates were also swept in yesterday’s double-header vs the Reds. Furthermore, Joe Musgrove (RHP - PIT) is 0-4 with a 5.40 ERA and yet the Pirates are only taking back this price? For comparison, the Cubbies (Yu Darvish) are -160 over Cleveland with Carlos Carrasco going, the Rays are -160 over the World Champion Nationals and even the Astronauts are -180 over the Rangers. Why is Cincinnati such a small price over a winless pitcher (with a 5.40 ERA) playing for the 14-win Pirates?! Targeting curious lines is something we adhere to and in that regard, this one stands out.
In 2019, Joe Musgrove’s .696 oOPS w/bases empty skyrocketed to .802 with men on base; that's his typical career split. (MLB average? Less than half that difference.) This deflates his strand rate and pushes up ERA more than it should given his consistently strong skills. Why does he have such trouble pitching from the stretch? We’re not sure why but Musgrove is a hidden gem if he can solve that. Musgrove has 26’s in 23 frames this year but what we especially like is that current Reds batters have a .182 BA against him with a very weak .588 OPS.
Michael Lorenzen (RHP - CIN) makes his first start of the year but not his first appearance. He’s appeared in 15 games, all as a reliever covering 21 innings. In those 21 frames, Lorenzen has walked 14 and struck out 17. Here is a guy that is much better suited for the pen. Last season, he rebooted his profile with some success by ditching his cutter/sinker for slider/changeup as more effective secondary offerings. His groundball rate suffered as a result but his strikeouts went up. The problem is that Lorenzen cannot find the plate. He’s constantly behind in the count and then is forced to go dead red. The Pirates rank 13th in plate discipline so they are not free swingers as one might assume. The betting line says the Pirates are a very live dog today and a close look under the hood agrees.
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Pittsburgh +128 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.56)