A few interesting angles on Monday have been reduced to a single play to get our week started. We’re locked in on the NL Central where the Pittsburgh Pirates pay Cincinnati a visit. Dan Staily throws for the home team against Jonathon Niese.
Neither starting pitcher could be much more unspectacular. Both young-ish veterans who have been around for some time without attracting much attention from their spots in the middle of mediocre rotations. Niese has had a bit of a rough start to his Pirates career. But stiff competition hasn’t helped his 1.68 WHIP and barely sub-6.00 ERA. He’s started against St. Louis, Detroit, Arizona, Colorado and the Cubs. His stuff isn’t first class, but Niese does a good job throwing strikes and limiting damage. He’s a well-balanced pitcher whose numbers will become more respectable as his sample of starts becomes more representative of the average NL starter. In his only other start this season, he tossed seven three-hit innings against the Brewers, a lineup more comparable to the Reds, who he faces tonight. I’d bet on a quality start for Niese tonight.
Straily is a little younger and perhaps a little more unknown because of his time spent pitching in smaller markets, but he’s every bit as reliable as Niese. He threw six really good innings in Pittsburgh the start before last and has allowed just 20 hits in 30 innings this year. The Pirates’ lineup looks a little more formidable with the return of Jung-Ho Kang, but Straily should have something close to a quality start tonight too. If neither starter lets the game get away from him tonight, we should get in under the 9.0. Again, for a half unit.
Free Pick: Under 9.0 -110
YTD: 8-6-1 +1.89
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02