Right off the bat the value in the May 21st NL free pick seems to be on Pittsburgh. Not only are the Pirates at home (although they are just .500 at PNC Park this season), Clint Hurdle’s team has momentum from a 3-game win streak. Pittsburgh is a +102 underdog as they welcome in Colorado, a team that has dropped 4 straight. What are oddsmakers seeing to make the Rockies a -112 road favorite Tuesday?
Can Rockies Get a Series Opening Road Win?
Colorado was idle Monday, but they will still be playing their sixth straight road game in the May 21st NL free pick. This run includes a 5-4 win in Boston last Tuesday, but four straight defeats as the team heads to Pittsburgh. It’s a short trip as Colorado was in Philadelphia all weekend – although they dropped all three to the Phillies. The Rockies have fallen into last place in the West, already 9.5 games behind the Dodgers.
The Rockies star studded offense does rank in the top 10 in scoring in the majors, but they also play in the most hitter-friendly atmosphere in the league. Charlie Blackmon is just 5-23 on the road trip (.217), although he does have 2HR. Trevor Story (.208) and Nolan Arenado (.200) have also struggled away from Coors Field over the past week. That means German Marquez better be solid on the hill in his start Tuesday. The Pirates are 5-1 their last 6 vs. a RH starter, but Marquez has the 6th best road ERA (2.55) in the National League.
Pirates a Solid Wager With Archer on the Hill?
Another reason Pittsburgh seems like a trendy play as home underdogs is because their ace-on-paper Chris Archer is getting the starting nod. The right-hander hasn’t been his usual reliable self this season though. Some of that has to do with injuries as Archer recently returned from a stint on the IL with right thumb inflammation. In his first game back Archer allowed 6ER on 4 hits (3.2 IP) with 4BB’s vs. Arizona. He gave up 6ER prior to going on the IL as well and has a 5.58 ERA on the season and a 4.7 walk / 9IP rate that is the worst in his career.
The May 21 NL free pick O/U is just 8 runs which would suggest Archer finds his groove in his second start back from the injured list. Does it also mean the Pirates bats struggle? Pittsburgh has won three in a row and return home for the first time in nearly two weeks after an 11 game road swing (7-4). Josh Bell has cranked out 4HR in the past 6 games, but is just 1-11 (.091) in his career vs. Marquez.
May 17th NL Free Pick Betting
Archer should bounce back on Tuesday but can the Pirates bats get to Marquez? The Colorado starter has allowed 10 hits in back-to-back starts and Pittsburgh should have the edge of returning home after a long swing. The off day Monday helped the Pirates get refreshed and they have the value in this one.
NL Free Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates +102