Thursday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Reds vs. Pirates: Pittsburgh Looks to Stay Hot at Home (May 12)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryan Reynolds
- A pair of division foes will face off as the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Cincinnati Reds.
- The Reds took two of three from the Pirates last weekend, but JT Brubaker has been throwing well and could lead Pittsburgh to a win.
- Mike Ianniello shares his best bet below.
Reds vs. Pirates Odds
|Over/Under||8 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||6:35 p.m. ET|
Any Pittsburgh fan will tell you that it is such a Pirates move to lose two out of three to the worst team in the league, just to then take two of three against the best. That is just what the Buccos did after losing a series to these Reds in Cincinnati last weekend. They followed that up with a series win over the Dodgers.
Cincinnati is coming off back-to-back series wins themselves — the first two series they have won all season. The Reds have won four of their past six games, yet still hold the worst record in the league at just 7-24.
Both of these teams should enter this series with some confidence. Will the Reds have another strong series against the Pirates? Or will the Buccos have better luck back home at PNC Park?
Cincinnati Reds: Overton Facing Familiar Foe
Mostly a career minor leaguer, 28-year-old Connor Overton will make his sixth big league start Thursday. The Reds are the eighth organization Overton has been a part of, including two independent teams. He has made two starts this year and has allowed three runs over 10 2/3 innings.
Fun fact about Overton: He set an MLB record last season with the most career innings pitched before allowing a run at 13 2/3. He actually set the record as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, in a game against the Reds.
Despite what their owner might say, the Reds clearly have no intentions of competing this year. They traded away Jesse Winker, Eugenio Suarez, Sonny Gray and Tucker Barnhart. They also let Nick Castellanos walk in free agency.
It’s no surprise that the Reds rank 28th in wRC+. Brandon Drury and Tyler Stephenson are the only two players with a wRC+ over 115. Cincinnati is also without Joey Votto and Jonathan India as both on the Injured List.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Brubaker Coming Off Strong Start
On the surface, JT Brubaker’s numbers are a bit concerning. He is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in six starts this year. However, he holds a 3.48 xERA and .317 xwOBA against, both of which are in the top half of the league. Brubaker has walked 14 batters this season which is a concern, but his 10.66 K/9 rate would be a career high.
After a bad start to the year, Brubaker has slowly lowered his ERA with each start he’s made. He is coming off his best outing of the season, allowing just three hits and two runs against Cincinnati on Saturday. He also struck out a career-high nine batters.
After posting one of the worst offensive performances last season, the Battlin’ Buccos have shown some fight this year. They rank 22nd in wOBA and wRC+. Over the past week the Pirates have clubbed 11 home runs, the third most in the league.
Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes is having a breakout sophomore year, batting .320 with a .387 xwOBA and 150 wRC+. Ben Gamel is red hot at the plate as well and 2021 All-Star Bryan Reynolds is getting going, too.
We saw this very same matchup just five days ago. Each pitcher turned in a solid outing, allowing two runs a piece and leaving with the score tied before the Reds scored seven in the eighth inning to win 9-2.
However, when looking into the starting pitchers a little more, Brubaker racked up nine strikeouts and didn’t allow a single hard-hit ball. On the other hand, Overton got tagged for nine hard hit balls.
Brubaker generated 12 whiffs and Overton got just three. Overall this season, Overton ranks in the bottom 30% in Hard Hit%, average exit velocity and strikeout rate.
Brubaker’s surface numbers aren’t great, but the Pirates are 4-2 in his starts and he has an xERA more than two runs lower than his current ERA so he should see some positive regression soon. His barrel rate is at a career low, and strikeout rate at a career high.
The Reds are an abysmal 2-15 on the road, while the Buccos are 7-8 at PNC Park and 2-0 in Brubaker’s starts in the 412. I’ll back the Pirates to Raise the Jolly Roger at -136 and would play them to -140.
Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates -136