MLB Odds & Picks for Pirates vs. Diamondbacks: The First-Five Inning Bet to Make (Aug. 11)
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Merill Kelly
- The Diamondbacks are strong home favorites this afternoon against the Pirates.
- Merrill Kelly takes the mound for Arizona, while Pittsburgh will counter will JT Brubaker.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Pirates vs. Diamondbacks Odds
|Over/Under||8 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||3:40 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Arizona Diamondbacks will look to take this four-game set and secure it with a win this afternoon over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
They should be in good shape to do so as they will give the ball to Merrill Kelly, who has quietly been one of the better pitchers in baseball this season as he enters with a 10-5 record and 2.86 ERA.
This will be his second time facing Pittsburgh this season, and if he can repeat his performance at a minimum, we will have a good idea of how this one will play out.
On the other side, JT Brubaker will toe the slab for Pittsburgh, and he is in need of some clean innings as he’s allowed 28 hits over his last three starts.
Despite the extreme amount of hard contact he’s surrendered lately, Brubaker is due for some positive regression. An outing against this young Arizona lineup may be just what he needs to get going in the right direction.
Expect Kelly to Shutdown the Pirates’ Offense
Kelly does not get the attention he deserves for the season he is having. Not only has he accounted for one-fifth of his team’s wins and holds an ERA under three, but his underlying metrics are also tremendous as well.
Kelly ranks in the top 40 percent of the majors in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate. In turn, he’s also among the top 25 percent in xERA, xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG.
The key to this success this season has been his changeup. He’s throwing it four percent more frequently than he did last year, which is a vastly improved pitch for him. In addition, his spin rate on his changeup has jumped nearly 200 rpm from last season, and it’s been very effective as it has an xBA of .214.
The improvement and implementation of his changeup have also led him to diversify his arsenal usage overall. Besides throwing his changeup, Kelly is also throwing his cutter four percent more, which has the lowest BAA of his arsenal at .186. On top of all that, we’ll see Kelly utilize each of these pitches to both lefties and righties, which will be critical against this Pittsburgh lineup.
The Pirates’ lineup is young and has not progressed that much in the second half. They rank bottom five in the majors in batting average, wOBA, and wRC+. So it would be surprising to see them get to Kelly.
Brubaker Due to Bounce Back
Brubaker’s peripheral numbers are not pretty. His ERA is 4.49, he has double-digit losses, and his WHIP is 1.52. However, he could give us a solid performance this afternoon.
By all indications, Brubaker’s stuff still has plenty of play to it. He is in the top 35 percent of all qualified pitchers in whiff and chase rate. His breaking stuff has been excellent this season as both his slider and curveball have whiff rates over 35 percent and xBAs under ,220.
The key for him in this matchup is finding a way to get the multiple lefties that will be in the Arizona lineup out. Brubaker excels against righties because he attacks them with his excellent slider, but he does not throw the slide to lefties nearly as often. Instead, he opts to attack them with his curveball and change up, which he’ll mix in with his sinker.
Lefties have not been too kind to him as he has a 4.06 FIP against them this year. Although he’s due to rack up some outs, given the xBAs on his three primary pitches are lower than their BAAs on.
Also, the Diamondbacks have been swinging the bats much better in the second half, but they are still 20th in BABIP and hard contact rate since the All-Star break. So, expect Brubaker to give us five quality innings.
These two lineups are certainly not the best around, and they each are facing starters who have the stuff to give them fits all afternoon.
Kelly should relatively overmatch Pittsburgh, and Brubaker is well overdue for a good outing, so why not bank on these two posting zeroes for the first half of this one?
The first five under is my angle for this matchup, and it helps that we’re getting an excellent price on it too.
Pick: F5 Under 4 (+105)
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