MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Detroit Tigers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Sunday, August 9)

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Justin Berl/Getty Images.

Detroit Tigers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Odds

Tigers Odds -106 [Bet Now]
Pirates Odds -100 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-121/+100) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 1:35 p.m. ET 

Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


After the Tigers and Pirates combined for 46 runs scored in the first two games of the series, the two squads will look to keep the bats going on Sunday. Detroit will be going for a sweep and could potentially pull within one game of Minnesota for first place in the AL Central. Pittsburgh is a dreadful 3-12 after entering the season in rebuilding mode.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.


Tigers

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

The Tigers offense was pretty anemic before scoring 28 runs over their last two games. Detroit only has .302 wOBA and 96 wRC+ so far on the season, which ranks in the bottom half of MLB. However, they’ve been pretty successful against fastballs to begin 2020, ranking 10th in MLB. The good news for the Tigers’ lineup is Stephen Brault is primarily a fastball pitcher, so they should be able to keep things going on Sunday.

Tigers Projected Starter

Spencer Turnbull, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Spencer Turnbull has been really good through his first two starts, allowing only three earned runs on six hits in 11 innings of work. He’s also struck out 16 batters in the process.

Turnbull has a main four pitch arsenal that he uses pretty effectively to navigate through lineups. His fastball is the definition of average, allowing a .318 wOBA in 2019. His slider is pretty effective, yielding only a .226 batting average and producing a 32.3% whiff rate last season. He should have no trouble navigating this Pirates lineup ranked in the bottom half against MLB against fastballs and sliders a season ago.

Pirates

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

Pirates Projected Starter

Steven Brault, LHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Steven Brault is a below average lefty at best. He’s been teetering between the bullpen and the starting rotation for the past four years now. There are a lot of concerns that appear on Brault’s advanced metrics, but the biggest red flag has to be his walk rate of 4.28 per innings (6th highest in MLB).

Brault primarily uses his fastball, but it’s not a very effective pitch. It has average velocity and his location is terrible as hitter tagged him for a .375 wOBA in 2019. I think our Action Network colleague Stuckey summed up the Steven Brault experience perfectly:

The Tigers have been strong against fastballs so far in 2020, so I expect them to have no issues hitting Brault all around the yard.

Bullpens

After 46 runs in the past two days, both of these bullpens have been maxed out. It’ll be interesting to see who each team will go to or who is even available for this game.

Projections and Pick

I have Turnbull and the Tigers offense projected out way better than Brault and the Pirates offense. So, I will be backing the Tigers at -106 and would bet it up to -132.

Pick: Tigers -106

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