We split our picks last time, as the Seattle Mariners’ Yusei Kikuchi had a bounce-back performance, silencing the powerful Houston Astros bats. Today we will be focusing on two explosive offenses at a very hitter-friendly park as well as the Cardinals sending their ace to that mound at PNC Park. Welcome to Diamond Picks for Saturday, May 1, 2021.
Betting Odds provided by Jazz Sportsbook. Please gamble responsibly.
Season Record: 11-4
St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates (6:35 p.m. EDT)
Jack Flaherty and the St. Louis Cardinals are road favorites in their Saturday night game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates have actually played some good baseball but they will have a tough time keeping up with the Cards in this one. The regression for the Buccos is likely coming. They will send Trevor Cahill who has struggled to the tune of a 7.11 ERA over four starts.
The Pirates offense isn’t one that most pitching staffs fear. They are averaging 3.80 runs per game in their previous 10 games and are hitting all of .210 during the span. On the season, they have just an 89 wRC+, 24th in the league.
The Cardinals are getting great performances from their pitching rotation over the last 10 games. The staff has pitched to a 1.71 ERA. Flaherty is tabbed as the ace and has been pitching like one this year. He has allowed just four earned runs over his last three starts. In 2020, he won both outings against Pittsburgh striking out 17 batters over 13 innings of work.
The main pause here for the Cardinals to get the job done is whether they come up with enough runs. The offense isn’t much better than the Pirates as exemplified by their 22nd ranked 90 wRC+. However, they have an easier matchup here with Cahill opposing them. Take St. Louis.
Diamond Pick: Cardinals (-155 money line)
Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays (7:37 p.m. EDT)
If last night’s 13-5 game was any indication, we could be in for another fun night at TD Bank Ballpark. The Jays had no problem in teeing off of veteran lefty Drew Smyly. Tonight, however, the task may be a bit more difficult to repeat. The Braves will send right-hander Charlie Morton to the mound. He carries an ERA close to five (4.76) and a 2-1 record. The Jays will counter with little-known in-season acquisition, left-hander Travis Bergen.
A glance at both of these lineups and it’s hard not to like runs aplenty here. Two huge pieces have just been added to the Jays formidable lineup. Teoscar Hernandez, who homered in his return last night from injury, and George Springer are back. If there was a time to predict an offense to get hot, now is the time with the Blue Jays. The Jays are averaging a robust 6.69 runs per game on home turf.
Here come the bats
Players to keep an eye on during this contest to drive the number over the total include the following; For the Braves, Freddie Freeman is 8-for-26 with eight runs driven in over his last seven games while third baseman Austin Riley is 9-for-22 over the same time frame. The Jays are being backed by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He has four dingers and 10 RBI over his last 11 games, including a trio in one game. Catcher Alejandro Kirk is coming off a two-homer performance is now 4-for-11 over his last few games.
The line is set for 10.5 runs. This is not a Coors game. That just tells you how much Vegas is expecting lots of scoring. The Braves have yet to truly break out and Toronto has a full lineup that is going to do serious damage this year. Getting 11 runs in this game is very doable. Take the over.
Diamond Pick: Over 10.5 runs (-120)
Follow Joel Dorcas on Twitter @Joel_Dorcas6
Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @JeremyCGuerin