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Pirates vs. Padres MLB Odds & Picks: Target the Total in J.T. Brubaker vs. Yu Darvish (Wednesday, May 5)

Pirates vs. Padres MLB Odds & Picks: Target the Total in J.T. Brubaker vs. Yu Darvish (Wednesday, May 5) article feature image

Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images. Pictured: Yu Darvish.

  • J.T. Brubaker looks to continue his stellar start to 2021 opposite Yu Darvish on Wednesday night.
  • Neither the Pirates or Padres are hitting especially well this season, although San Diego is showing signs of breaking out.
  • DJ James breaks down why he isn't expecting that to happen in the series finale.

Pirates vs. Padres Odds

Pirates Odds +195
Padres Odds -245
Over/Under 6.5
Time Wednesday, 8:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday and via PointsBet

In one of the most interesting pitching matchups of the Wednesday card, two pitchers who primarily do not throw four-seam fastballs will square off in San Diego.

J.T. Brubaker sports a slider he throws 36.4% of the time, while Yu Darvish and his chamber of secret pitches mainly features a cutter and slider. The Pirates and the Padres are two below-average teams at the plate so far this season, so who can triumph over the other in a low-scoring spot?

Pittsburgh Pirates

When people think of the best pitchers in baseball, they do not necessarily think of Brubaker. To his credit, though, the Pirates’ starter has put together an impressive start to the 2021 season.

As stated, Brubaker’s fastball is not his best pitch. His slider actually has a 39.0% whiff rate, which makes that his out-pitch. He does throw a fastball, but opponents are slugging .688 against it this season. In most cases, Brubaker should probably avoid it and stick with the slider/sinker combination.

That said, Brubaker’s average launch angle against is 8.3 degrees, which means he will primarily keep the ball on the ground (54.2%). Yet to throw a complete MLB season with the shortened 2020 season, fans may be seeing what Brubaker has in store in his arsenal.

Pittsburgh’s bullpen shockingly owns a pretty successful xFIP (3.91) and ERA (3.61) this season. Richard Rodríguez and Kyle Crick have not even allowed a run yet over 21 1/3 combined innings. Duane Underwood, Jr., Michael Feliz, Sam Howard and David Bednar are all solid other options for skipper Derek Shelton to call upon.

On the flip side, the Bucs’ lineup has been abysmal. Pittsburgh’s team 83 wRC+ ranks third-last in MLB. Bryan Reynolds, Jacob Stallings, Colin Moran and Adam Frazier have at least been solid, but this is the limit to their success. Even if they hit righties slightly better than lefties, they will struggle against Darvish.

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San Diego Padres

Darvish should carve up Pirate hitters. He only allows an average exit velocity of 86.5 mph, and fans should expect this to drop against a subpar lineup. No Pirates batters maintain an xSLG against sliders, so look for Darvish to up the use of his off-speed alternatives in this matchup.

In addition to Darvish, the Padres have amongst the best bullpen in the majors. San Diego’s relief corps has a 3.30 xFIP and 2.82 ERA, which puts them at the top of the league in both. Only four bullpen pieces have over a 4.00 ERA, and Dan Altavilla has only thrown 1 1/3 innings. They should silence a weak-hitting Pittsburgh lineup shortly after Darvish goes six or seven strong innings.

As far as the Padres’ lineup goes, it’s also below average this season, like the Pirates. San Diego’s hitters a 91 wRC+ but do hit the ball hard (41.6%). This lineup should come to life soon, given the lack of production coming from Jake Cronenworth, Manny Machado and Victor Caratini, but there is a strong chance this does not happen on Wednesday.

The Padres only have four consistent starters hitting above league average (100 wRC+). Their best attribute is more than likely patience, but Brubaker ranks in the 89th percentile in walk percentage, so San Diego should be prepared to swing the bats.

Pirates-Padres Pick

Both the Padres and Pirates are at the bottom of the MLB in barrel percentage. With both pitchers mixing in a complete arsenal, runs may be few and far between.

This total seems pretty low but when you consider the pitch arsenals of both starters, the effectiveness of their off-speed pitches and their abilities to induce weak contact, this should be indicative of very few productive plate appearances.

Pick: Under 6.5 (play to -120)

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