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Free MLB Pick Monday

#913/914 ‘UNDER 8’ Colorado Rockies (Gray) at Los Angeles Angels (Despaigne) 9:05 PM CT

Odrisamer Despaigne has a 6.35 ERA but a 3.47 FIP this season mainly as a reliever with the Marlins before joining the rotation for the Angels in August. He faced a pair of tough road venues in those outings and this could be his best opportunity for a lengthy outing all season. Despaigne has pitched in 100 games at the big league level with average results and he’ll face a Rockies team with just a .727 team OPS vs. right-handed pitching and a .723 team mark overall the past 25 games.

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Colorado might not need many runs Monday with Jon Gray on the mound. Gray still owns an elevated ERA at 4.67 but his xFIP is 3.12 this season for one of the better marks in the NL. Since a minor league stint Gray has returned from the All Star break with great numbers posting a 2.83 ERA in six starts and yet to take a loss in that span. He has relied less on the strikeout and has found much better results while going deeper into games.

The Angels have been ice cold at the plate with a .578 team OPS in the past five games, scoring a combined 12 runs in those five games and over the past two weeks the team OPS is only up to .694. The ‘under’ has had a 34-29-3 mark in Anaheim this season and both bullpens are capable. Just as Mike Trout has returned Justin Upton is out of the lineup for the Angels with any long shot hopes up in flames this week with six consecutive defeats for Los Angeles. Expect tired teams that both endured disappointing results Sunday and a pair of capable right-handed options to succeed on the mound.

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Free MLB Pick Tuesday

#926 Cincinnati Reds (Romano) -130 over Detroit Tigers (Boyd) 6:10 PM CT

24-year-old Sal Romano is an imposing figure on the mound as one of the largest in stature players in the game. He showed some promise in 16 starts on a bad Reds team last season but he hasn’t taken a step forward this season, struggling through 14 starts with a 5.67 ERA for a last place team. Romano has better numbers at home and he has been very effective against right-handed batters with a .225 batting average against and his season xFIP is a bit more respectable at 4.82. He delivered a fine start at Kansas City in his last outing and in six of his last eleven outings he has allowed two or fewer runs.

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Left-hander Matt Boyd has posted a 3.23 ERA this season but his xFIP is actually higher than Romano’s at 4.98. Boyd has benefitted from a .232 BABIP and his strikeout numbers are marginal with a 7.0 K/9. Boyd is an extreme flyball pitcher and pitching in Cincinnati that could be a problem compared with his spacious home park in Detroit. Not surprisingly Boyd has much worse numbers on the road with the Tigers just 13-20 in road games this season despite being a surprise team in the AL so far this season.

The Reds have a bullpen edge in this matchup with a 2.92 ERA over the past 10 games in relief innings and overall this season both teams have fared better vs. left-handed pitching to give Cincinnati the edge in tonight’s pitching matchup. Since starting the season 8-27 the Reds have played exactly .500 ball since May 8 including winning four of the past six games ahead of this home stand. Detroit has quietly won five in a row but they did so with light scoring as the Tigers have been held to four or fewer runs in 12 of the past 15 games. Trust the oddmakers and support the small favorite tonight despite the contrasting records for these squads.

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Nelly’s Free MLB Pick Thursday

 

#923 Tampa Bay Rays (Archer) -115 over Pittsburgh Pirates (Taillon) 6:05 PM CT

Chris Archer is back to being one of the better right-handed starters in the AL this season after a down 2016 campaign. Archer has pitched even better than his solid traditional numbers appear as he owns the fourth lowest FIP among all 77 qualified MLB starters at 2.88 even if his ERA is a full run higher. Archer has the second best K/9 in the AL and while the Pirates are a better hitting team vs. right-handed pitching they still boast just a .718 team OPS vs. right-handers which is the fourth worst mark in the NL. Tampa Bay is crushing right-handed pitching with a .809 OPS that barely trails the Astros and Yankees on top of the AL. The Rays are 32-22 vs. right-handed starters while going 6-2 so far in interleague games. Jameson Taillon has made three June starts after a six week absence due to a cancer diagnosis and while his future looks bright he is overvalued in a matchup against one of the top established pitchers in baseball. Taillon owns steady numbers but a FIP a half a run higher than his ERA is a red flag as is a very high strand rate and an unusually low home run rate. Taillon actually hasn’t pitched that well at PNC Park with a 4.22 ERA on the season and right-handed batters own a .278 average with a robust .845 OPS against him this season. Ultimately getting the Rays vs. a right-handed pitcher at near-even pricing with Archer on the mound is a great opportunity even with a bullpen edge for the Pirates and a slight losing road record for the Rays on the season.

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