Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds Pick
Where: Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, OH
When: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018
by Kevin, MLB Handicapper, Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Pit -130/Cin +120
Over Under: 9.5 (opened at 9)
Starting Pitchers: Jameson Taillon 3.97 ERA/1.25 WHIP vs. Matt Harvey 5.28 ERA/1.31 WHIP
Pirates vs. Reds Preview
Who can blame the Reds for taking a shot at Harvey? After all, they’ve seemingly always been on the wrong end of the 2010 first round pick as he had dominated Cincinnati over the course of his career. As the old saying goes, “If ya can’t beat’em, join’em.” However, it’s a pretty short sighted thought and one that is likely to blow up in their faces.
If Matt Harvey couldn’t get it done in a pitcher’s park like Citi Field, what are the chances he’s going to find success in a band-box like Great American Ballpark?
What I Like About the Pirates Today
Besides fading Harvey, who appears to be a shell of his former self, there’s quite a bit to like here. For starters, Jameson Taillon is being under-priced here. This guy has been lights out this season with exception of a 2-game span from April 19th-25th where he yielded 12 runs on 14 hits over 5.1 innings. Those two bad outings (which a happened a month ago) make his 3.97 ERA a bit of an anomaly. Taillon appears to be back on track as evidenced by his recent outings where he’s given up a combined earned runs over his last 13.2 innings.
The Pirates opened as -145 road favorites. The line has since bet down to -126, despite 70% of the general public backing the Pirates. This denotes sharp action on the Reds. I’m not usually keen to fading sharps but today is a bit different. I believe the wiseguy action is because Taillon hasn’t pitched well at Great American Ballpark. The reason I’m discounting this “usually important variable” is because the sample size is not large enough. The 6.43 ERA and 2.00 WHIP was only accrued over 14 innings. More importantly, overall, Taillon has twice as many “good” outings vs. the Reds than bad.
In my opinion, statistics weigh heavier in baseball betting than any other sport. I’m not a huge trends guy, but the following stats and trends point to good things with regards to a Pirate bet:
- The Pirates are a winning team at 26-20. The Reds are a losing team at 16-32.
- I make this line at -185. Fifty nine cents of value is rare in baseball!
- The Pirates have gone 6-1 this season after an off day. This isn’t a coincidence. Rest is an important variable.
- Pittsburgh plays division opponents well, winning 10 of 13 games.
- The Reds have performed poorly at home at 7-18.
- Cinci has been dominated by division opponents winning only 4 of 22 games.
- The Reds have stunk vs. RHP (11-23).
- Cinci lacks punch and doesn’t seem to rebound off losses well, going 10-21 in that scenario.
- The Reds have scored 1 run or less in 3 of their last 4 games.
- Cinci is 2-5 over their last 7 and have only hit .200 during that span with a WEAK on base percentage of .268.
- Taillon appears to be back on track with a 1.98 ERA over his last 3 starts.
- The Pirates have played strong vs. the Reds at 3-1 this season.
- Matt Harvey’s ERA has stayed in the 6 range for over a month. He’s done noting to bring it down.
- Joey Votto hasn’t had any success against Taillon batting only .158 in 25 plate appearances. The other middle of the order bats haven’t fared well either with Suarez at .133 and Schebler .077. Votto is cold right now too, at .222 over his past 6.
- Last but not least, my favorite stat for today’s game… Jameson Taillon has only allowed 1 earned run in his last 19 innings vs. the Reds
Things That Could Bite us in the Rear
The Pirates have lost 3 in a row. I generally tend to side with warmer/hotter teams, but can’t help myself here with Taillon vs. Harvey.
Outfielder Starling Marte will miss today’s game with an oblique injury.
Kevin’s Pick to Win: I don’t think it’ll come easy, but I believe the Pirates get the W here. Two days ago, I successfully predicted J.D. Martinez would hit 2 dingers and he did. Yesterday in our posting forum, I predicted that the Miami Marlins would get shut out and they did. I’m no wizard, don’t do tarot cards and honestly, I don’t even believe in luck, but for chits and giggles I’m going to predict that Josh Bell wins this game for us. Good luck!
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