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June 8, 2016

Two picks have been released.

1: Take NY Mets (-122) on the ML against Pittsburgh Pirates risking 3.66% to win 3%.
(Syndergaard must start for wager to have action)

Noah Syndergaard may just be in his 2nd season in the Majors but he's already established himself as one of the best! The hard-throwing righty mixes his pitches well and can be quite unpredictable. He ranks among the top 5 in a number of categories including ERA and WHIP! Deserving of the praise that's been bestowed upon him, he's looking to put the Mets on his shoulders and help them snap their losing streak. New York is floundering right about now and needs a star-like performance from a pitcher that is well capable of it.

The Mets have several unique edges in this contest but none more so than the starting pitching matchup. Jameson Taillon may have been picked ahead of the hurler nicknamed 'Thor' in the draft a few years ago but their careers have gone in different directions since then. Syndegaard has proven his skills at the highest level while Taillon will be making his Major League debut tonight. Nerves are almost always a factor in that first big league start and that means even the best minor league pitchers rarely perform at their best upon making the transition. Taillon may have a bright future ahead but that hardly guarantees a quality start on this particular night. Pitching in front of a full PNC crowd on what is also a home debut means he'll naturally be anxious, especially in the first couple of innings! That might be just what NY needs to get its scuffling offense going. Let's not forget that top Dodger prospect, Julio Urias had also absolutely dominated Triple-A but has failed to record a quality start in 3 attempts and was miserable in his debut against these same Mets, who chased him after less than 2 innings! We don't see Taillon doing as poorly but we don't see him neither out-dueling nor out-lasting Synergaard.

These two teams played a double-header yesterday and interestingly enough, both games had the same final score, a 3-1 Pirates win! New York has now not only lost two to the Bucs this season but is winless against them going back to last year, a season which saw them make it to the World Series but get absolutely dominated by the Pirates in the regular season! Pittsburgh has had their number in recent meetings but we believe that is about to change tonight as Mets have several distinct advantages and are extremely motivated to get one over the Bucs. Terry Collins' squad will do everything it can to avoid an embarrassing sweep and has an excellent chance to end its recent slide.

Outfielder Starlin Marte has been Pittsburgh's best player this season but is set to sit this one out. The outstanding left-fielder is one of the most under-rated players in the league and ranks #2 in the Majors with 18 stolen bases to his credit! His absence makes the running game a lot easier for Rene Rivera and Noah Syndergaard to keep tabs on. The Pirates still have speed elsewhere in the lineup but Marte is no doubt their best at swiping bags and has also been an extremely proficient hitter. Contrary to popular belief, he's Pittsburgh's #1 offensive threat and not Andrew McCutchen and his absence should therefore not be underestimated.

Clint Hurdle elected to his best bullpen arms in yesterday's double-header games and that means the likes of closer Mark Melancon pitched in two separate games in one day! Melancon and company won't be as fresh tonight and that should improve the Mets' chances in the late innings. New York's top relievers will be ready to be called in to action and that gives the pitching edge to the Mets, both from the starter perspective and the bullpen. Look for coach Collins side to find a way to win this game and salvage a game againt the Pirates. This is a cheap price to lay with a hungry team that has the better pitcher on the mound.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Syndergaard is 4-1 with a stellar 1.85 ERA in five road starts!
  • Starlin Marte left the game with an ankle injury yesterday and is not in the lineup.
  • Mets are 15-9 as a road favorite of -125 to -150 over the last 3 seasons.

2: Take St. Louis Cardinals (-175) on the ML against Cincinnati Reds risking 5.25% to win 3%.
(Garcia and Simon must both start for wager to have action)

Joey Votto's solo homer made the Reds a walk-off winner in last night's series opener and while we believe he'll be a handful again, the edge lies with the visitors. The Cardinals have a habit of responding when coming off a loss as evident by their impressive 102-64 record in such situations, over the last 3 years! Mike Matheny's ballclub is a resilient and tenacious and one that doesn't take losses lightly. It's worth noting that the Cards have been especially good over the years when coming off a narrow 1-run loss, as they have won 24 of 30 games following such defeats!

They often bounce back by making adjustments and elevating their performance and we expect them to do so again tonight. It's imperative that they do so given that tomorrow's pitching matchup is not as favorable as tonight's. That's because after being baffled by lefty John Lamb for 7 frames last night, they get to face another left-handed starter and arguably a more talented one in Brandon Finnegan, tomorrow. They have limited experience against him while the Reds have seen veteran Adam Wainwright plenty of times. Thursday's pitching matchup could present certain problems and that means St. Louis needs to pick up a 'W' tonight, to at least make sure they avoid the sweep, while setting themselves up for a chance to win the series by getting the job done in the final two games. Look for them to even up this 3-game set with a convincing victory against their NL Central opponents.

Jaime Garcia is no stranger to this Reds lineup. He's pitched over 100 innings against them over the years and has largely kept them at bay. He owns a 3.33 ERA with a 1.2 WHIP against Cincinnati over the years with his team having won 11 of his 17 starts. Garcia has had some outstanding outings this season where he's held opponents scoreless and also some rougher starters where he's failed to go beyond 5 innings. We don't expect them him to be flawless tonight but we do believe he's in a different class to Reds starter, Alfredo Simon and will out-duel him. Simon is arguably the worst starting pitcher in the Majors at the moment and is way past his prime. His velocity and skillset have taken a sharp downturn over the last two years and he's no longer an effective pitcher. He's been hit hard and frequently this year and sports an ugly 8.94 ERA on the season! Simon may be coming off a quality outing against the Rockies but he was very fortunate in that contest as the Rox hit a bunch of hard hit balls right to his defense, and despite some good luck, he still ended up giving up 4 runs! We believe St. Louis bats are capable of giving him trouble if they can avoid hitting into double-plays.

This is not only a starting pitching mismatch but one that extends beyond that, to the bullpens! It is no secret that Cincinnati relievers rank at the very bottom of the Majors in terms of effectiveness. This is a taxed 'pen that has frequently blown saves and thrown away leads and did so again last night. Prior to Votto's solo shot in the bottom of the 9th inning, the Cincy bullpen blew a 5-run lead much to the dismay of starter, John Lamb who had a quality start. Luckily for them, it didn't cost the Reds on that occasion but their ineptitude was on full display once again. The Reds can't be trusted with the lead late in games even if Alfredo Simon does somehow out-duel Garcia but that is unlikely anyway. The Cards are the better team nearly everywhere on the diamond and should bounce back and win this game.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Cardinals are 17-10 after a loss this season.
  • Reds have won only 13 of 40 games against teams with winning records!
  • Cincinnati batters have averaged only 3.5 runs against left-handed starters like Garcia.

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