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Free MLB Pick May 8

#972 Detroit Tigers (Boyd) -115 over Los Angeles Angels (Skaggs) 6:10 PM CT

Matt Boyd has shown flashes of greatness in his MLB climb the past three years but this season he has put it all together to emerge as one of the AL’s top pitchers. Detroit lacks a great offense behind him but Boyd has posted a 3.05 ERA and actually a 2.10 FIP that is the strongest in the entire American League by a wide margin. His 11.6 K/9 is also among the best strikeout rates in the league and he had accomplished that rate with a very low walk rate. Boyd had had to pitch at Fenway and at Yankee Stadium this season as it has been a difficult path and he is riding six consecutive quality starts since a marginal first outing in late March.

The Angels have been competitive this season but the offensive numbers fall off a cliff vs. left-handers with a .631 team OPS vs. southpaws, the fifth worst mark in MLB compared to a very strong .774 team OPS vs. right-handers. Not surprisingly the Angels are 13-10 vs. right-handed starters but only 3-9 vs. left-handers. Detroit has been one of the lowest scoring teams in baseball but the Tigers are a winning team at Comerica Park where Boyd has posted even stronger numbers. The Tigers are also a much better hitting vs. left-handers with a jump of 28 points in team OPS.

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Tyler Skaggs looked like a breakout candidate in a shortened 2018 season but he hasn’t matched that pace this season even if his ERA is 3.12 in 26 innings this season. His strikeout rate has plummeted while his FIP of 4.22 is more indicative of his future path of mediocrity. In his five starts Skaggs has faced a bottom seven team in MLB in team OPS vs. left-handers four times as he has drawn a very favorable path and still has had marginal results. His road ERA is also nearly double his home ERA and the Angels are only 5-10 in road games on the season. Detroit’s bullpen has rough numbers of late but with decent starting efforts the past two games the unit should be in better shape for Wednesday night.

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Free MLB Pick Tuesday

#971/972 ‘OVER 8.5’ Detroit Tigers (Turnbull) at Philadelphia Phillies (Velasquez) 6:05 PM CT

Vince Velasquez has posted a 1.99 ERA in four starts and a relief inning for the Phillies, helping the rotation greatly with the early season struggles of Nick Pivetta and Aaron Nola. There are some big red flags for Velasquez however with his worst start his only home outing and an xFIP of 4.22. He has left 96 percent of his baserunners on base while posting a .228 BABIP. He has also made starts in Miami and at Citi Field for very favorable opportunities. Some light rain in possible in Philadelphia Tuesday but conditions shouldn’t be detrimental to offense and Philadelphia has scored 5.2 runs per game this season.

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The Phillies have struggled pitching however with 4.7 runs per game allowed and Citizens Bank Park has averaged 10.5 runs per game this season with the Phillies averaging 6.1 runs per game at home. This is the third city on the current road trip for the Tigers who are the AL’s lowest scoring team with only 91 runs. Detroit has averaged 4.9 runs per game over the past 10 contests, posting at least four runs in six of the past nine games and averaging 5.0 runs per game on this road trip.

Tyson Ross was scratched from this start but while Spencer Turnbull might look like a better option with a 2.77 ERA a 4.46 xFIP is a more realistic account. Turnbull hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two starts but he has also faced a light crop of opposing lineups this season. His 3.8 BB/9 is a concern and little in his career numbers suggests that his current pace is sustainable with Turnbull posting one career win and a 4.04 ERA in now just over 42 innings at the MLB level. Surrendering flyballs at a high rate against the Phillies in this ballpark can be problematic and the Detroit bullpen owns a 4.81 ERA on the season while Philadelphia hasn’t been much better as both bullpens feature a WHIP above 1.40. Over the past 10 games Detroit has a 8.37 bullpen ERA and with a double-header a week ago and several short starting efforts over the weekend the Tigers haven’t had much chance to recover even with an off day Monday.

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Bobby Dalton has gone 3-0 each of the past two days on the diamond – win again with his next TRIPS-2-WIN 2/3 offer for Tuesday night. Nelly’s MLB has had a forgettable April in a small sample but we expect to get an over/under winner in tonight and have turned in a profit in four consecutive MLB seasons.

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Free MLB Pick Friday

#965/966 ‘OVER 9’ Chicago White Sox (Lopez) at Detroit Tigers (Fiers) 6:10 PM CT

Despite only one win, 24-year-old Reynaldo Lopez has delivered on the mound for the White Sox this season with a 2.98 ERA. Expectations for Lopez moving forward should be grounded however with a marginal strikeout rate and an xFIP that is nearly twice as high as his ERA at 5.44. Lopez is coming off an eight-inning shutout effort in his last start but that game was at home and in his past two road starts he surrendered 17 hits and 10 runs.

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Mike Fiers won eight games for the eventual World Series champions last season but wasn’t involved in the postseason run for the Astros. He already has four wins in eight starts for the Tigers but a 5.44 FIP suggests he could be heading towards another season of struggles as he looks to stay in the big leagues as a barely above replacement level starter. Fiers has only pitched slightly better at Comerica Park this season and left-handed batters have a robust .279 average against him with Chicago set to place five left-handed bats in the lineup tonight.

Even with some improved recent returns on Chicago’s side the bullpen numbers are rough for both teams and the ‘over’ is 20-8 in the past 28 meetings between these teams in the Motor City. A few big names are sidelined tonight but unseasonably warm conditions should play favorably for both offenses in matchup of marginal starting pitchers.

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Bobby Dalton has won five in a row in the NL while riding a 45-26 interleague run – don’t miss Friday’s Trips-2-Win 2/3 guarantee!

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Free MLB Pick – Tuesday, June 21

#959 Seattle Mariners (Paxton) + over Detroit Tigers (Verlander) 6:10 PM CT

After showing some promise in a brief call-up in 2014 James Paxton proved not ready for primetime struggling at the big league level last season. At nearly age 28, patience may be wearing thin for the left-hander with a big-time arm but in four starts so far this season Paxton may be finally realizing his potential. His strikeout rate in the small sample is nearly 11.9 K/9 and he owns a 2.86 ERA. Paxton has taken two losses in his four starts but seven unearned runs have been factored in with some tough breaks in his first two starts back with the Mariners. Paxton owns a very low ERA and FIP despite a .403 BABIP that is sure to come down and with his swing-and-miss rate the ceiling is very high for Paxton to help the Mariners chase down a playoff spot. Opposing Paxton will be one of the American League’s best and most well known starters with Justin Verlander in the midst of a resurgent season. Verlander has been a big part of keeping the Tigers afloat at .500 so far this season but there is reason to be a little suspicious of the numbers for the former MVP and Cy Young winner. His BABIP is .271 as he has caught some breaks and his groundball rate is very similar to last season when the right-hander greatly struggled and well off the pace of his best seasons. Detroit has not been the strong hitting team vs. left-handed pitching that they generally have been in recent seasons, going just 8-10 this year vs. left-handed starters and batting 20 points worse as a team in those matchups. In contrast the Mariners are one of the league’s best scoring teams vs. right-handed pitching posting 5.3 runs per game. Seattle is in a bit of a slide having lost seven of the last nine games on this long road trip but in last night’s lengthy game the Mariners out-hit the Tigers 19-14 despite the loss and Seattle’s bullpen was preserved better than Detroit’s with the Tigers having five relievers pitch at least an inning. Verlander is capable of another good outing but Seattle looks promising in a bounce-back spot with underdog pricing.

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