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Free MLB Pick Sunday

#961/962 ‘OVER 8’ Pittsburgh Pirates (Musgrove) at San Francisco Giants (Rodriguez) 3:05 PM CT

Joe Musgrove has a 3.41 ERA in 12 starts looking like a viable piece of a promising Pittsburgh rotation for years to come. His xFIP is 4.41 and his K/9 is just 6.8 however as Musgrove may not be able to keep this pace up. He has pitched extremely well on the road this season but it is a very small sample of only 27 innings and the Pittsburgh bullpen has struggled in recent weeks while needing a substantial workload already in this series.

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Dereck Rodriguez has provided a very promising start for the Giants, 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 11 outings. He also has a high xFIP casting some doubt on the figures however at 4.00. His strikeout rate isn’t a lot higher at 7.5 K/9 and his numbers seem likely to rise over time. The Giants have had several short starting efforts in the last week and both teams have been significantly more productive vs. right-handers this season.

In six meetings between these teams on the season there has been 71 combined runs scored and AT&T Park has not fit its reputation this season with 8.9 runs per game and a sharp lean ‘over’. Five of the past seven day games in San Francisco have also featured at least eight runs.

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Nelly’s Baseball is perfect this week, 5-0 since Monday get Sunday’s side play for just $15. Bobby Dalton has a 10* Best Bet for Sunday MLB riding a 29-17 Best Bet run!

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Free MLB Pick Wednesday

#953/954 ‘OVER 9.5’ Pittsburgh Pirates (Archer) at Colorado Rockies (Marquez) 2:10 PM CT

German Marquez has been a steady pitcher in the rotation for the Rockies but at home he owns a 6.63 ERA in over 55 innings of work. Foes have batted .303 against him at Coor’s Field with a .913 OPS. Marquez is on a nice six-start run since late June but four of six games came on the road including pitching in a few favorable ballparks. In six of his last 11 starts he has still allowed four or more runs and Pittsburgh has been one of the better hitting teams in baseball in the last month.

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In the past 22 games the Pirates have an .809 team OPS with 5.3 runs scored per game. Pittsburgh has scored at least five runs 13 times in the past 19 games Colorado has allowed 5.1 runs per game so far in August after the pitching staff had a great month of July to climb back in the NL race. In home games the Rockies own a 5.62 bullpen ERA and Marquez has been a high risk pitcher in Denver.

Pittsburgh has a 5.00 bullpen ERA on the road this season and the Pittsburgh debut for Chris Archer was similar to how he has pitched all season, allowing five runs in just over four innings of work. Archer can generate strikeouts but his season ERA is 4.40 and he hasn’t been much more than a league-average pitcher the past three seasons. Left-handers have hit Archer hard this season and Colorado had quality lefties in four of the top seven spots in the lineup last night. Archer also only has pitched at Coor’s Field once, a ballpark averaging 10.6 runs per game on the season.

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Nelly’s Baseball had a winner in interleague action last night – don’t miss Wednesday’s evening selection. Bobby Dalton won his 3/5 offer Tuesday and is featuring a 10* Best Bet for Wednesday night.

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Free MLB Pick Wednesday

#973 Pittsburgh Pirates (Taillon) +195 over Cleveland Indians (Bauer) 12:10 PM CT

The Pirates can’t be counted out of the NL Central race just yet, now winners of 11 in a row to sit four games above .500 and just six games behind the Cubs for the division lead while only three games out of a tie for the final wild card spot. Pittsburgh is 13-1 since July 8 led by great production at the plate and elite numbers in the bullpen. Pittsburgh has allowed three or fewer runs in 11 of the last 15 games while scoring at least six runs in eight of the past nine games. Adding a DH in AL parks has helped immensely with Pittsburgh 12-2 in interleague play and over the past 10 games the Pirates have a .962 team OPS while batting .345 with 9.0 runs per nine vs. right-handed pitching. Trevor Bauer is one of the best right-handers in baseball but the Pirates dominated Corey Kluber and Shane Bieber the past two nights. Bauer only has eight wins and his xFIP is almost a run higher than his ERA His first start after the All Star game was rocky with four runs allowed in four innings. The Indians have great offensive numbers overall but they have been a team of extremes with many all-or-nothing games. Jameson Taillon has dominated in his last two starts and he has gone 10 consecutive starts without allowing more than three runs, posting a 2.95 FIP in that span with a better than 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio while being a better pitcher on the road this season. A couple reserves starting this game for the Pirates sends this line upward but the red hot Pirates may still be worth a look as Taillon hasn’t needed great support of late and the late inning bullpen edge is firmly with Pittsburgh.

Nelly’s has a NL Contender Clash pick today for just $15 on a 33-23 run. Bobby Dalton went 4-1 yesterday and he has a 10* Best Bet tonight for $24.99!

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June MLB Pitchers to Watch

June MLB Pitchers to Watch

With two months in the MLB season in the books there is enough meaningful data to form stable projections for the coming weeks. A few starters that have perhaps underachieved so far could be in line for improvement in the coming weeks. Here are five pitchers to watch in June as possible play-on starters in the upcoming weeks.

Sean Manaea – Oakland Athletics: The Oakland left-hander had a huge first month of the season with a 1.03 ERA in six starts including a no-hitter vs. the Red Sox on April 21. In six May starts Manaea posted a 7.18 ERA, allowing at least four runs in each of his six starts. He faced a few difficult matchups in that run but he also saw his strikeout rate plummet. He has also had some tough luck with more than 40 percent of his base runners coming around to score in the month of May. His xFIP in that stretch was just 4.80 as he likely deserved better results in a few outings and historically May and August have been his worst months. His FIP of 4.20 for the season is a bit above his 3.60 ERA but he should return to being an upper tier starter in the coming weeks. His next scheduled starts are at Texas, home vs. Kansas City, home vs. the Angels, and at the White Sox as he should have favorable opportunities to get back on track.

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Jon Gray – Colorado Rockies: Gray won 10 games last season in 20 starts for the Rockies posting a 3.67 ERA. His FIP last season was just 3.18 as many expected even further improvement in 2018 for the #3 pick in the 2013 draft at now 26 years of age. Gray has posted a career best 10.5 K/9 so far this season but he has been burned by a .376 BABIP so far this season. Gray has a 5.68 ERA but his 3.15 FIP is the eighth best mark in the NL among qualified starters as things should turn Gray’s way in the coming weeks. Pitching at Coor’s Field is always a challenge and he has really struggled at home this season where six of his last eight starts have been. The upcoming schedule should offer better opportunities for Gray with his next turns scheduled to be at Cincinnati, at Philadelphia, and at Texas, while his next home start if the current rotation holds would be vs. the light-hitting Marlins in late June.

Luke Weaver – St. Louis Cardinals: As a 23-year old Weaver dominated AAA in the first half of last season before posting a 7-2 record with a solid 3.88 ERA in 10 starts for the Cardinals late last season. An xFIP of 2.93 and a 10.7 K/9 sent expectations soaring for Weaver in his first full season in the big leagues. There have been some growing pains for the 2014 1st round pick with worse numbers across the board this season. His K/9 is down to just 8.2 while his ERA has ballooned to 4.63. Among NL starters he owns one of the largest differences between this FIP and his ERA however with a FIP of 3.72 suggesting that he could return to a similar pace as last season’s success. He has had tough luck with 32 percent of base runners scoring and left-handed hitters have hit .293 against him while there has been a big disparity between his home and road numbers. Weaver will get two of his next three starts at home with the road outing being against a Cincinnati team that is among the worst in the NL as he should have an opportunity to improve his numbers in the coming weeks.

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Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates: With a hot start for the Pirates Taillon had incredible numbers through his first three starts with just two runs and nine hits allowed in more than 20 innings. After pitching over his head to open the season, he hit a tough-luck patch to even out his numbers in his final three April starts. Taillon had average results in May with one bad outing inflating his season line, leaving his ERA at 4.53 through the first two months. His FIP is just 3.87 however and he owns a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio. Taillon has dominated against right-handed batters with a .213 batting average against while walking only one right-handed batter in nearly 33 innings of work. Taillon has an extreme gap between his home and road numbers and in June three of his next four starts following a June 1 start in St. Louis should be at home. He also will get to face the slumping Diamondbacks lineup twice if the current rotation schedule holds.

Rick Porcello – Boston Red Sox: Backing Boston will generally carry a premium price tag but Porcello offers a lesser valuation than Chris Sale or David Price and he has been pitching well for the Red Sox with a 3.65 ERA in 12 starts. His season line features a 3.14 FIP and an 8.5 K/9 with both marks better than the results he produced in his surprise 2016 Cy Young season. He is on pace to have his highest groundball rate since 2013 and he has only allowed six home runs in 74 innings of work. Porcello actually has better numbers against left-handed batters this season and he has pitched nearly as well on the road as at home. June has historically been Porcello’s worst month of the season but that career log was mostly built in a disastrous six-start run last June in which he had a 6.63 ERA by virtue of a .361 BABIP. Porcello has had solid numbers since the 2017 All Star Break and he could have a strong month of June for the AL East leaders. His first call this month will be a challenge draw in Houston but then he will be slated to face the White Sox at home before facing manageable road opportunities in Seattle and Minnesota.

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Free MLB Pick – Friday, July 8

#901/902 ‘OVER’ Chicago Cubs (Arrieta) at Pittsburgh Pirates (Liriano) 6:10 PM CT

Jake Arrieta is still a top shelf pitcher in the National League but his groundball rate has slipped dramatically in recent weeks and the results have been much less impressive since late May. Over his last eight starts Arrieta has a 3.77 ERA and his season xFIP is more than a run higher than his season ERA. His strikeout rate is still strong but his walk rate has climbed dramatically, allowing 3.5 free passes per nine innings and he is only six walks short of his 2015 season total despite pitching fewer than half as many innings so far this season. There is no question that Arrieta remains a strong pitcher on a great team but the Cubs would be wise to wait on the long term contract as on the wrong side of 30 Arrieta is looking more and more like a potential one-year wonder. Francisco Liriano is just a bit older than Arrieta and the left-hander enjoyed one of the great rookie seasons any pitcher has had in 2006 for the Twins, going 12-3 plus a save with a 2.16 ERA and a 10.7 K/9. Liriano has had plenty of ups-and-downs since but he has turned in a fine career with 93 MLB wins. His 2016 season is on pace to be perhaps his worst since 2009 however as he has been a huge disappointment for the Pirates, unable to follow-up a solid 2015 season with the club. His strikeout rate has fallen dramatically from last season while his walk rate is incredibly high at 5.7 BB/9. There doesn’t appear to be anything phony in the numbers as his 5.34 ERA is nearly identical to his 5.33 FIP and his .304 BABIP is right around the typical league average. Liriano has allowed 27 earned runs in his last seven starts for a 6.88 ERA in that span and he has allowed at least four runs in four straight home starts. The Cubs have 12 runs against Liriano in fewer than 10 innings this season and Chicago is 19-9 this season vs. left-handed starters. The Cubs have been a great ‘over’ team on the road at 26/16/3 while PNC Park has featured 9.2 runs per game this season with the ‘over’ 27/14/3 and the Pirates have shown recent life on offense with four or more runs in nine of the last 11 games. With these pitchers there figures to be many extra base runners with both starters in the NL bottom 10 among qualified starters in BB/9 and the low total leaves little margin for error with two of the better hitting teams in baseball matching up.

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