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MLB Picks: Surging Pirates Host San Diego at PNC Park

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Oskeim Sports provides bettors with both free and premium MLB picks.  On Friday, Oskeim recommends taking the Pittsburgh Pirates as one of his MLB picks.  If you are interested in quality MLB picks, be sure to visit Oskeim’s award-winning subscriptions at the online store.

Pittsburgh right-hander Ivan Nova is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in four career starts against the Padres and now faces an anemic San Diego lineup that is averaging 3.7 runs per game in 2018 (.653 OPS), including just 3.6 runs per game against right-handed starters (.649 OPS).

In contrast, the surging Pirates, winners of eight of their last 9 games, are averaging 5.5 runs per game at home (.807 OPS) and 6.1 runs over their last seven contests (.881 OPS).

Nova is also backed by a solid Pittsburgh bullpen that boasts a 2.85 ERA at home and a 2.20 ERA in its previous seven games. Many bettors will be dissuaded from backing the Pirates due to Nova’s 5.01 ERA but his underlying peripherals indicate that the veteran hurler has performed much better than his surface statistics suggest.

For example, Nova takes the mound with a 4.26 FIP, 3.84 xFIP and 3.96 SIERA, together with a 47.6 percent ground ball rate and a 1.43 BB/9 rate. The 31-year-old is due for positive regression in light of his unlucky .321 BABIP and 66.3% strand rate.

San Diego’s roster has been decimated by injuries as starting catcher Austin Hedges (tendinitis in right elbow), starting right-fielder Wil Myers (strained left oblique), shortstop Allen Cordoba and outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Alex Dickerson remain sidelined.

From a technical standpoint, San Diego is a money-burning 9-19 in its last 28 games versus teams with a winning record, 45-92 in its previous 137 road affairs, 38-78 in its last 116 road tilts versus right-handed starters and 18-41 in its last 59 road games versus teams with a .601 or greater home record.

The Padres are also 2-8 in their last ten clashes inside PNC Park and 1-4 in the last five meetings in this series. Pittsburgh is a profitable 20-7 in its last 27 home games, 16-5 in its last 21 affairs versus .399 or worse opposition and 7-3 in Nova’s previous ten outings against teams with a losing record.

With Nova standing at 62-29 (+20.6 units) as a favorite in his major league career (team trend), take the Pirates at home as one of Oskeim Sports’ MLB picks for Friday, May 18.

Injury Update: With Starling Marte landing on the disabled list, the Pirates have decided to recall Austin Meadows from Triple-A Indianapolis. Pittsburgh’s top position player prospect arrives at PNC Park with a six-game hitting streak and a .281/.326/.380 line with one home run, eight stolen bases (nine attempts), and a 103 wRC+.

Oskeim Sports’ MLB Picks for Friday, May 18:

  • Pittsburgh Pirates (-125) over San Diego Padres
  • Oakland Athletics (+109) over Toronto Blue Jays