Padres vs. Pirates MLB Odds & Picks: Pittsburgh Has Shot Against Joe Musgrove (Wednesday, April 14)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images. Pictured: Phillip Evans, Adam Frazier and Bryan Reynolds.
- Joe Musgrove makes his first start since throwing a no-hitter last week against the Rangers.
- The Pirates pulled off a surprising win over the Padres on Tuesday night.
- Does Pittsburgh stand a chance? Kevin Davis breaks it down below.
Padres vs. Pirates Odds
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The Pittsburgh Pirates host the San Diego Padres in the last game of their series on Wednesday night. The Padres are one of the best teams in the league and the Pirates are probably the worst. Pitching for San Diego is Joe Musgrove, who in his last start threw a no-hitter. Unsurprisingly the Friars have been set as heavy -225 favorites. Should Johnny Vander Meer be worried?
As we saw on Tuesday when the Pirates won outright as +215 underdogs, heavy underdogs frequently win in baseball. There are 162 games in a season and there is a good deal of variance.
San Diego should win, but Pittsburgh has a plausible path to either winning or not getting blown out. With the Padres as heavy favorites, I am looking to attack the Pirates’ +2.5 run line, currently at -133 odds.
San Diego Padres
One of the Padres’ biggest strengths is their lineup. With Tommy Pham, Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer, there are many ways for the Padres to beat you. Despite San Diego’s offensive talent, they are only averaging 4.09 runs per game so far, which is the 20th best in the league.
Further hurting the Padres is the absence of Fernando Tatis Jr., who is out with a shoulder injury. In 2020 during the shortened season, Tatis had 17 home runs, a .277 batting average and a wRC+ of 150. Tatis’ replacement, Ha-Seong Kim, is a strong fielder but a below-average offensive player. According to my model, Tatis’ injury is likely to cost the Padres .23 runs per game.
While the Padres have a weakened lineup, they do have a decent starting pitcher on Wednesday night in Musgrove, who you might have heard tossed a no-hitter last time out. More like this time, however, is that Musgrove goes about his career averages: five innings pitched with two to three runs allowed. With a weakened lineup, the Padres will have to rely on Musgrove to pitch better than usual (like last time out) if they want to win by three runs or more.
The Pirates average only 3.6 runs per game, and my model only projects them to be 0.13 runs better than they’ve scored so far. It’s a really bad offense overall, despite Wednesday’s eight-run outburst. The bad lineup is weakened even further by the absence of rookie third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who is pretty clearly Pittsburgh’s best offensive player.
The Pirates covering the +2.5 run line or even winning outright will depend, however, on how well starting pitcher Tyler Anderson performs. Anderson has only played for lackluster teams in his career and has a 22-29 career record and 4.66 career ERA. However, Anderson played four of his six seasons for the Rockies, meaning he called Coors Field home. When you adjust for fielding and pitching, Anderson has a career xFIP of 4.25, suggesting that he is better than his back of the baseball card stats.
This season in two starts, Anderson has a 5.23, but a 3.44 xFIP. Anderson has simply been an unlucky pitcher this season and throughout his whole career. Against the Padres, Anderson should pitch for about five innings and only allow two earned runs. That is why Pittsburgh has a chance of winning or at least keeping the score close.
Currently, the Pirates’ +2.5 run line is only being offered as an alt run line, but I still like it at -133. I am going to wait until closer to first pitch, though, as likely Padres bettors could give us a better price.
If the price doesn’t change, I still would recommend the Pirates +2.5 run line up to -135. While my model likes the moneyline, my model gives just as much of an edge to the run line and I do not have the stomach to bet on the Pirates winning outright.
Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates +2.5 Run Line (-133); would play up to -135