San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates
First pitch: 12:35 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Chris Paddack (0-1, 5.63 ERA) vs. Mitch Keller (1-1, 4.50 ERA)
As far as future top-of-the-rotation stalwarts go, this is a mouth-watering series finale in Pittsburgh today. Two young and emerging starters going at it that look bound to hit their peak this year.
Paddack is the more polished one, though that may be difficult to tell given his troubling start to the season. He hasn’t pitched past the fourth inning yet and his strikeout rate (6.75 K/9) isn’t where you’d expect it to be through two assignments.
But that’s obviously not going to last. Pinpointing such a turnaround based on the spot presented can be the difference alone in deciding a bet. That’s what I’m anticipating Paddack to do opposite a weak getaway-day Pirates batting order.
The Sheriff should also benefit from the pitcher-friendly confines of PNC Park. Above all, I just don’t see Pittsburgh continuing their surprisingly serviceable hitting thus far, as they currently sit in the top half of the league in team OPS (.715) and batting average (.241). Not with their odd assortment of misplaced dead bats.
Meanwhile, the other ascending youngster starting in this affair, Keller, may only just be beginning his surge. Based on his most recent turn — when he spun five innings of one-run ball with seven K’s against a Chicago Cubs lineup that was seeing him for the second straight time — this appears so. He’s flashed potential before.
The former second-round draft pick debuted only a couple of years ago but has exhibited that form of being a top-rotation pitcher. It’s just a matter of him putting it together and being consistent, which he’ll have the opportunity for here.
Normally, having to face a fearsome Padres lineup wouldn’t be the most ideal thing to ask for. On the contrary, this is an offense that’s now missing two of its best hitters in Fernando Tatis Jr. (shoulder) and Wil Myers (knee). Since Tatis went down a couple of weeks ago, the Padres are managing a meager 3.5 runs per game.
I say Keller can build on that last outing, which was one of his best in the bigs to date. Attach that to a typical Paddack showing and we have a grind-it-out affair.
MLB Expert Picks
UNDER 8 @ -105 (Click to bet)
MLB Free Picks
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Thursday's MLB Leans
Phillies-Mets Under 7
2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 7-7, -0.92 unit
Yesterday’s Result: Cubs-Brewers Under 7.5 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit