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Baseball Free Play: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres

05.03.2011     11:29 AM     Teddy Covers     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Teddy Covers blog entry.
Pittsburgh (Karstens) +145 at San Diego (Latos) O/U 6.5 
Recommendation: Pittsburgh

Mat Latos was an ace last year and the San Diego Padres were huge moneymakers for their supporters for the first five months of the campaign. But the Padres went south in September and Latos was a big part of their demise. On August 25th 2010, the Padres had the best record in the NL, 76-49, with a 6.5 game lead over the Giants. They closed out the season 14-23 in their last 37 ballgames, and lost the division to the Giants by two games.

This year, the Padres own the single worst record (11-18) in the NL heading into Tuesday; carrying their late season collapse forward into 2011. A team built to win at low scoring Petco Field has been nothing short of awful at this venue: 4-12 in their first 16 home games, while averaging a dreadful 2.2 runs per game. And Latos – the young gem of Bud Black’s pitching staff – has gone south in a hurry.

The Padres went 16-7 in Latos’ first 23 starts last year. He entered September with a 2.29 ERA and was in the Cy Young discussion as a rookie. But then the Padres started to lose; 0-5 in Latos’ last five starts of 2010. He’s continued to lose here in 2011 – four starts, four losses. His 4.98 ERA doesn’t include the five unearned runs Atlanta hung on him in his last outing; a 7-0 home loss at the hands of the Braves.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh continues to exceed expectations on a nightly basis. The Pirates went 17-64 on the road last year; by far the worst road record in baseball. In 2009, Pittsburgh was nearly as bad: 22-58 on the highway, again the worst road record in the majors. But this season, the residual value on the Pirates is enormous, and they’ve already won ten road games, tied for the most road wins in the majors.

Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton, talking about the difference from 2010 to 2011 in terms of maturity: “We come into a town, and we’re not overwhelmed by a situation. We leave a lot of the past out of the clubhouse and just turn the page.” The betting markets haven’t turned the page to 2011 on Pittsburgh just yet, giving us an excellent price point to support the Pirates here.

Tags: MLB San Diego Padres Mat Latos Pittsburgh Pirates Jeff Karstens Teddy Covers

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