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June 4, 2016

There are two picks today.

#1: Take LA Angels (+102) on the ML against Pittsburgh Pirates risking 3% to win 3.06%.
(Locke must start for wager to have action)

Generally speaking, the Pirates are the better team in our opinion but in this particular matchup, we believe the situation favors the visitors from Los Angeles. The Halos took the opener of this 3-game interleague set with a dominant 9-2 victory last night and have several advantages again today! After chasing Francisco Liriano, who lasted only 3 innings yesterday, they get to face another left-handed starter. Jeff Locke has never faced Mike Trout and company and while he's been performing better recently, he's not an impressive hurler. Liriano actually has more deception and movement to his pitches and Locke is often more hittable.

Given the way the LA offense found its groove yesterday, they not only have momentum on their side but confidence as well, since they're swinging at hot bat right now. Six different players each had 2 hits for the Angels yesterday and are all present in the lineup again this afternoon. The Halos had 15 total hits and also took some walks to get on base frequently. Despite crossing home plate 9 times, they actually didn't make the most of their chances and could play better. If they don't have a miserable day with runners in scoring position, we believe they are capable of getting to Locke and making life miserable for him as well.

Pirates are riding a 4-game losing streak and as much as they'd love to snap it, they're dealing with some key injuries right now. Everyday catcher, Cervelli remains out which takes a potent bat out of their lineup. Veteran World Series winner and former Angel, David Freese will also sit out after being hit by a pitch in Thursday's game. Jody Mercer will take the field but is at less than 100% and was supposed to sit out. All in all, the Bucs have some players absent that they could use and that makes it more difficult to bounce back in this spot. They'll have their ace, Gerrit Cole on the mound tomorrow which gives them a good chance to end this slide. In this game however, all the value is with the underdog as they are capable of causing an upset and the short odds indicate as much.

#2: Take Miami Marlins (+100) on the ML against NY Mets risking 3% to win 3%.
(Colon must start for wager to have action)

These two teams come into this afternoon’s contest heading in different directions. The Miami Marlins have been hot, winning four of their last 6 games and currently sit 3 games above .500 on the season. They took one on the chin last night as the NY Mets were able to halt their winning streak with a 6-2 victory. Besides last night’s victory, the Mets have been struggling and a big reason for that has been their offense. Key injuries to players such as David Wright, Travis d'Arnaud and Lucas Duda have really hurt this team offensively. They are averaging just 3.8 runs per game which is good for 26th in the league and their combined batting average is just .230 which is good for 28th. Not counting last night’s offensive anomaly, they had scored just 9 runs in their last 5 games combined and that could prove to be an issue against a Miami team that is will be out looking for revenge. 

The Marlins will be sending Justin Nicolino to the mound this afternoon and while he hasn't exactly pitched great this season, he has been somewhat consistent. He last an average of 6 innings per contest and has an ERA of 4.50 which means he gives up approximately 3-4 runs per outing. The higher powered offenses of the league have been troublesome for Nicolino this year; however with the Mets struggling at the plate and their numerous injuries, this could be the outing where Nicolino finally picks up a much needed win. Giancarlo Stanton has looked lost at the plate recently but is too powerful a hitter to continue sputtering. We believe it's only a matter of time before he turns around and against Bartolo Colon, whom he has great numbers against, he could have an impact.

The Fish are a team that plays to contact and are not very reliant on the long ball where as the NY offense scored all of their runs via home runs last night! Miami scores their runs by playing solid fundamental baseball since Don Mattingly took over and that includes getting runners on base, swiping bags and getting timely hits. This is a team that is very similar to the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals in that regards. Their patience at the plate and ability to get timely hits will be the reason why they come out on top. If Nicolino can limit giving up homeruns, then the Marlins should come away with the victory. Let's not forget that AJ Ramos and David Phelps, Miami's closer and set-up man have had the last two nights off and should be fresh to be called upon tonight. The fact that the Marlins have won some close games recently (against the Pirates) in walk-off fashion, should help their confidence in what could be another close game that goes down the wire.

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