• Rick

Rick’s MLB Plays 6/17

San Francisco Giants @ Pittsburgh Pirates (7:05 ET)

Favorite: Giants -220

Total: 8

Pitchers: Carlos Rodon (3.19 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) vs. Zach Thompson (4.50 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)

Two teams with inverse records meet in one of the most beautiful ballparks for a blazing hot weekend of baseball. Neither team has been hitting the ball well at all and in fact fall within the bottom third of the league in June in OPS. Both pitchers have been phenomenal lately, so don’t look at Zach Thompson’s ERA and baulk. In April he had a putrid 10.05 ERA, but since then is posting a 2.30 ERA. He’s been on fire utilizing 4 pitches consistently and looks to keep it going against the struggling Giants. The Pirates will need every bit of them if they look to stop the strikeout king that is Carlos Rodon. Between his 30.4% strikeout rate and the Pirates 2nd worst offensive strikeout rate, we should hear a lot of the Ump tonight. Expect a close one between two stale offenses in the heat.

Pick: Pirates +1.5 +110 (1u) & Rodon o6.5 Ks -140 (0.5u)

Dilip Vishwanat - Getty Images

St Louis Cardinals @ Boston Red Sox (7:10 ET)

Favorite: Red Sox -120

Total: 10.5

Pitchers: Adam Wainwright (2.84 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) vs. Michael Wacha (2.33 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Another Boston cap for me, and I’d apologize if I weren’t profitable with them (up nearly 2u). The only matchup I’d prefer to this one would be Wainwright vs Rich Hill so we could see who could throw the best 73 MPH Curveball and get batters with it. Sadly we’ll have to live with one savvy vet and the unexpected ace of the Red Sox this year in Michael Wacha. While their styles don’t match up at all, it’s scary to see how closely their stats align. They both allow an elite 31% hard hit rate this year, but are middle of the road in xBA, xOBP, and other metrics. Expect them to use their timing and versatility on the mound to post another great outing tonight.

The other story tonight is the bats, which are also nearly equal. Boston lands 7th in OPS this year, while St Louis is 10th, and recently they are neck and neck in the month of June. By all statistical measures this should be a phenomenal game in Boston with two exceptional pitchers on the mound. I lean towards the home team that is in exceptional form to pull out a lower scoring matchup.

Pick: Red Sox ML -120 (1u) & F5 u5.5 -105 (1u)

Scott Kane - Getty Images

Minnesota Twins @ Arizona Diamondbacks (9:40 ET)

Favorite: Twins -130

Total: 9

Pitchers: Devin Smeltzer (2.38 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) vs. Madison Bumgarner (3.50 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

The Diamondbacks are trending in a bad way recently. Their bats have been ice cold although they scored 7 in their last outing against Cincinnati, and their starting pitching that was excellent to begin the year has struggled as of late. One of those is Bumgarner, whose numbers are deceiving. He’s pitching to contact and getting hit hard nearly 50% of the time. He’s not striking guys out and is allowing baserunners all too often. Against a team led by Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa (as well as many solid bats down the lineup) you can’t afford that. Smeltzer is by no means an all-star so don’t get carried away by his stats, but he is solid and against a Diamondbacks roster near the bottom offensively he should have a solid outing.

Pick: Twins ML -130 (1u)

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