Rockies vs. Pirates Odds, Picks, Predictions: Fade Kyle Freeland and Colorado’s Offense (Tuesday, May 24)

Rockies vs. Pirates Odds, Picks, Predictions: Fade Kyle Freeland and Colorado’s Offense (Tuesday, May 24) article feature image

Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Roansy Contreras (Pirates)

  • The Pittsburgh Pirates are slight home favorites (-124 odds) against the Colorado Rockies Tuesday.
  • Roansy Contreras will throw for the Buccos against Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland.
  • D.J. James previews the game below, including his betting prediction.

Rockies vs. Pirates Odds

Rockies Odds+106
Pirates Odds-124
Time6:35 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will host the Colorado Rockies in the second game of their three-game set.

Fire-balling prospect Roansy Contreras will throw for the Bucs against Kyle Freeland.

Pittsburgh has done well against left-handers this month. It holds a 111 wRC+ compared to a 82 wRC+ for Colorado off of righties.

The difference in hitting performances should play a predominant role in handicapping this game, since both bullpens have been amongst the worst in MLB.

Taking the Pirates on the moneyline is the right bet in this game.

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Can Freeland Step Up for Rockies?

Freeland has been underwhelming this season. His 4.85 ERA against a 4.69 xERA shows he has not been very unlucky. He's also allowing too many hard hit balls, as his Average Exit Velocity allowed is nearly 90 MPH (ranking in the 33rd percentile). His Hard Hit Percentage is 41%, too.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has many key players who have been able to dominate southpaws this season, so this does not bode well for Freeland.

Ke’Bryan Hayes is the biggest name on the list. His xwOBA off of left-handers is .456 with an Average Exit Velocity of 95.9 MPH.

Other than Hayes, the Pirates have five other names in the lineup who own a .340+ xwOBA. This should be more than enough, considering how poorly the Rockies hit right-handers, let alone hard-throwers like Contreras.

Even if there has not been much of a difference between the bullpens this month — since they have both been awful — the Rockies are slightly worse.

For one, Robert Stephenson is hurt, so this impairs their depth. In addition, they only have three arms with a sub-4.00 xFIP in May: Tyler Kinley, Daniel Bard, and Carlos Estevez. If the Pirates hit Freeland hard, it will hinder the Rockies’ ability to manage their relief workload for the rest of the week.

Pirates Need to Get to Bednar

Now, Contreras does not have much experience in MLB, but he does throw hard, as alluded to above. His average fastball ranks in the 94th percentile at 97 MPH on average.

It may be a small sample size, but outside of the five hitters in the Rockies' lineup who have done well off of hard-throwing righties, everyone else on the active roster has a sub-.230 xwOBA. This means all Contreras has to do is get through the top of the order, for the most part.

The Pirates' bullpen has had some trouble as of late — like Colorado’s — but they have a few arms at the back-end that will prove crucial in this matchup. First off, Contreras will likely only pitch three-to-four innings, which should leave the rest of the task to middle relief.

David Bednar has been an above-average closer, so as long as the Pirates can get the ball to him, he will likely close the door on Colorado’s chances. His 0.82 ERA and 2.06 xFIP are top of the line.

Other than Bedar, Bryse Wilson, Cam Alldred and Duane Underwood Jr. also tout sub-4.00 xFIPs. These would be ideal candidates to come in in relief of Contreras. As long as the less reliable options can manage a couple of innings, Pittsburgh gets a small edge on bullpen depth, as well.

Rockies-Pirates Pick

The angle here is mainly fading Freeland and Colorado’s offense against a right-hander. Contreras may be inexperienced, but this Rockies offense is no juggernaut.

On the other hand, Pittsburgh may not be elite, but it has enough bats with a track record who can hammer Freeland. Pair that with his inability to limit hard contact, and this is a perfect storm for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates will also negate Freeland’s durability by ensuring he exits quickly, leveling the playing field between the starters. Take the Pirates.

Pick: Pittsburgh ML -112 | play to -135

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