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Diamondbacks vs. Pirates MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Merrill Kelly Cool Off Pittsburgh? (Friday, June 3)

Diamondbacks vs. Pirates MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Merrill Kelly Cool Off Pittsburgh? (Friday, June 3) article feature image
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Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryan Reynolds and Josh VanMeter

  • The Diamondbacks have moved to slight favorites for tonight's matchup with the Pirates.
  • Merrill Kelly takes the mound for Arizona, opposed by Pittsburgh's JT Brubaker.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Diamondbacks vs. Pirates Odds

Diamondbacks Odds -115
Pirates Odds -105
Over/Under 7.5
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Don’t look now, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are hot. They come into this series after sweeping the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, earlier this week. They’ll look to keep the tide rolling as this matchup kicks off a three-game weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

We have ourselves a very underrated pitching matchup as Merrill Kelly will square off against JT Brubaker. On the surface, their stats may not look like anything special, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll see just how effective these two have been. It is those underlying metrics that will determine the angle for this matchup.

Discipline Will Be Key For Diamondbacks

Brubaker has been sneaky good this season. Yes, he enters with a 4.15 ERA, but he’s also in the top 40 percent of the league in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate.

Brubaker’s arsenal features two different breaking balls and a changeup to go along with his fastball. His breaking stuff is excellent, as his curveball’s spin rate is among the top 15 percent. However, all the movement to his stuff has caused his command to be shaky. His walk rate is in the bottom 25 percent of the league. The Diamondbacks will need to make him work and take every free pass they can get.

The Diamondbacks are peculiar when you look at their plate discipline. On the one hand, they are second in the majors in strikeout rate; but on the other, they are also second in the majors in walk rate.

While those seem to balance out, when you look at each hitter’s strikeout and walk rates, you’ll see the Diamondbacks have the potential to get a lot of guys on base tonight.

David Peralta, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, Pavin Smith, Cooper Hummel and Geraldo Perdomo all have walk rates over 8.5 percent. At the same time, only three of them have strikeout rates above 25 percent. The top of the order is the group to watch as Peralta, Marte and Walker have all been hitting the ball well of late and have the power to make Brubaker pay for mistakes over the plate.

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Kelly To Cool Down Buccos’ Bats

Pittsburgh’s three-game sweep of the Dodgers was both shocking and impressive as it put up five or more runs in each game against the best pitching staff in the National League.

However, one streak of hot-hitting does not define this lineup as the Pirates still only hit .225 as a team over the last two weeks, and they also only scored the 19th-most runs in that span as well.

They get to face another quality arm today in  Kelly. Like his counterpart in this matchup, Kelly has been tough to square up this season. However, he ranks in the top 35 percent of all qualified pitchers in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate.

Also, like Brubaker, Kelly will utilize his full arsenal that includes three fastball types, an above-average curveball and a changeup. What makes his arsenal so successful is that each pitch looks similar out of his hand, but the late movement causes a ton of weak contact.

We’ll see him use his cutter to get in on lefties and his sinker to get in on righties. Then he’s got his great changeup in his back pocket that he will throw to put hitters away as it mimics the hard stuff.

Pittsburgh is third in the majors in strikeout rate, and we should see plenty of whiffs from the Pirates against Kelly.

Diamondbacks-Pirates Pick

The market has taken a clear stance on this game as it opened a coin flip, but the odds have begun to move in favor of Arizona.

I am in complete agreement with the market as the Snakes should get the bats going early against the mistake-prone Brubaker. On the other side, Kelly gets to showcase his stuff against one of the weaker lineups in the league.

Back the Diamondbacks in the series opener.

Pick: Arizona -115

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