Today's Free Picks for Jul 10, 2013
Cincinnati @ MILWAUKEE
MILWAUKEE +150 over Cincinnati
2:10 PM EST. Pitching match-up favors the Reds but Cincinnati is struggling so badly at the plate right now that they are a great fade at this ridiculous price. The Reds have scored three runs combined in the first two games of this set. They’ve scored three runs or less in six of their past seven games against the following starters: Wily Peralta, Kyle Lohse, Joe Saunders, Aaron Harang, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum. The price today on them is so high because they’re facing a rookie starter that has surrendered 15 hits and 16 runs in 6.1 innings. Johnny Hellweg has also walked eight batters while striking out just two. However, prior to his call-up, the 6-foot-9 Hellweg turned in five consecutive quality starts at Triple-AAA Reno, going 5-0 with a 0.82 ERA over that span. In 33 innings, he allowed only 22 hits, with 11 walks and 17 strikeouts. Obviously, the problem with Hellweg is a lack of control but a pressing team often helps out pitchers by swinging at strikes out of the zone. The fact that the Brewers are giving him another shot suggests they like what they see in this hard-throwing right-hander, otherwise he would be back down in the minors.
Mike Leake had a string of nine strong starts snapped in his last game when the Mariners got to him for two bombs and four runs in five innings. Leake last faced the Brewers back in 2011 when he posted a 4.91 ERA in three starts against them that season. Leake has a relatively stable skill set, yes, but disaster starts % shows how erratic he can be and was in 2012. Leake has solid command and his groundball % is also decent but he'll never be close to elite and he is too risky to be spotting a tag like this one, especially with his team struggling to hit and being on the road. Price has influence.
MILWAUKEE +150 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.00)
Atlanta @ MIAMI
MIAMI +130 over Atlanta
12:40 PM EST. In his first three starts of the year, Paul Maholm’s ERA after 20.1 innings was 0.00. His ERA after 18 starts heading into today’s game is 3.81. Maholm has been around since 2005. He’s never dominated and he’s become one of those classic, soft-tossing lefties with more guile than talent. Maholm’s WHIP over the past 31 days, covering five starts is 1.55. His ERA over that span is 4.75 and his line-drive rate over that same stretch is a troubling 26%. Maholm has solid command and an elite 51% groundball rate but he’s showing signs of fatigue with seven jacks allowed in his past seven starts and declining numbers right across the board. He remains as hittable as his career BAA of .272 says he is.
With seven starts in 2013 under his belt, Jacob Turner is looking like a former first-round pick (with DET) that was a key to Anibal Sanchez trade last summer. Turner is coming off a shaky early few innings in his last start but that was against the Cardinals and after allowing four runs in the first three frames, he did not allow another one after that. It was the first time all year that Turner has given up more than three runs in an outing. Turner has kept his base skills consistent in his first 100 innings or so of major league action. Strikeouts are a little light, but he’s shown very good control. A second positive is groundball%, which has improved in 2013 and will work in any stadium. This kid is just 22 years old and is confidence is building with each start. He’s learning to trust his stuff and that’s a huge step in the progress of any young pitcher with this much talent. We’ve been saying it for over a month now that Turner is a pitcher with nasty stuff that should be on your radar. As long as he keeps being offered prices in this range, especially at home where he is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA, we’ll continue to back him and certainly make no exceptions here.
MIAMI +130 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.60)
Minnesota @ TAMPA BAY
TAMPA BAY -1½ +116 over Minnesota
The Twins are a frustrated bunch. You could see it on their faces last night, as they sat in the dugout after the Rays hung a four on them in the fourth inning to put them in a 4-0 hole. Game after game, the opposition continues to put up a crooked number in single innings and often it occurs more than once in a game. The Twinkies have lost three in a row and nine of 10 and here are some of those scores: 9-8, 9-3, 10-4, 7-3, 9-5, 11-5, 7-4 and 4-1 last night. Minnesota does not have one starter that would even be a #4 starter on a contending team and its rotation may very well be the worst in the history of MLB. How frustrating it must be for these Twins’ hitters knowing they have to put up eight runs or more to win. It’s Kevin Corriea’s turn to get whacked and here’s his story: Journeyman starting pitcher for the Pirates last year, with a strikeout rate barely higher than his xERA moans about being replaced with his team 15 games over .500 in July for the first time in eons. Good karma is ruined, chaos ensues, team limps to a 21-40 finish and this below average starter escapes into free agency. Correia has 56 K’s in 105 innings to go along with a 1.38 WHIP. His WHIP over his past six starts is 1.53 and his BAA on the year is .297. Correia is a stiff and the bullpen coming in after him is running on fumes right now.
With a bloated 4.67 ERA, Jeremy Hellickson remains the most undervalued of all the Rays pitchers and one of the most undervalued in the game. Hellickson’s 6.69 ERA in six May starts has his ERA skewed the wrong way and that’s something we can take advantage of. In May, Hellickson was crushed by an unlucky 52% strand rate. His skills in May were near identical to his skills in June is which he went 5-1 with a 3.53 ERA. On the year, Hellickson is still being affected by low 64% strand rate and as that regresses to normal levels, his ERA will drop even more. Hellickson is in for a big second half. He’s striking out more and walking less, his groundball rate is trending in the right direction and is now up to 47%, his WHIP is getting close to an elite level and he should have little trouble thriving here against this frustrated guest.
TAMPA BAY -1½ +116 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.32)