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Believe It Or Not, But The Pittsburgh Pirates Own The Best Record In Baseball

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 7/1/2013 8:08:03 PM

Each of the past two years, the Pittsburgh Pirates have thoroughly impressed other baseball fans in the first half of a Major League Baseball season. Can this team finish the job in 2013?

Game 1: Philadelphia Phillies @ Pittsburgh Pirates – Tuesday, July 2

Sports betting lines should lean decisively in favor of the Pirates here. It’s worth pointing out that the pitching matchup works in Pittsburgh’s favor, and given that the Pirates have received such strong pitching from their entire rotation – starters and relievers alike – it’s hard to bet against Pittsburgh under such circumstances.

In a test of online poker, it becomes apparent that the dealer matters. In baseball, the dealer matters as well. Philadelphia starter Jonathan Pettibone has not been terrible. Given his relative lack of experience, he has done an entirely solid job to this point in the season, posting a respectable if slightly puffy 4.17 ERA. That kind of ERA is entirely legitimate and reasonable for a fourth or (especially) fifth starter on a staff. Given that the Phillies have Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels on their roster, Pettibone isn’t anything more than a number-four starter, so his numbers really aren’t cause for alarm in the Phillies’ extended family.

Yet, in this game, Pettibone is likely to get outpitched and, ultimately, defeated. Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke has a 2.06 ERA. Moreover, Locke is getting better with each start he makes. Locke has been chipping away at his ERA during the season, which points to a considerable degree of staying power within the majors. His command is exceptional, and his confidence level is so high that he should not be opposed by betting players in this tilt. Go with the Pirates in this spot.

MLB Betting Pick: Pittsburgh

Game 2: San Diego Padres @ Boston Red Sox – Tuesday, July 2

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will point to the fact that the San Diego Padres have just lost two straight games to the lowly Miami Marlins. These websites will also note that the Padres – after playing one more game in Miami on Monday night – will have to make the long flight to Massachusetts for this game on Tuesday. Boston is a much better team than San Diego to begin with, chiefly because the Red Sox possess a better lineup and get more contributions from more players. For Boston to then derive the benefit of playing an opponent that might be worn out from travel is only more of a reason to pick the Red Sox here. It’s hard to see how San Diego will be physically or mentally fresh against Boston.

San Diego starter Robbie Erlin has made only two career starts and – having also worked in relief – currently owns an ERA of 3.60. He’s been very good for the Padres. Boston starter John Lackey carries a gleaming 2.99 ERA to the bump in this game. Erlin is doing well, but Lackey is doing better.  Don’t overcomplicate matters – pick the Red Sox in this game.

MLB Betting Pick: Boston

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