Pirates @ Padres Friday, 6/29

Hello, Sports Fans! We have reached the mid-point of your 2018 Major League Baseball campaign with some great races shaping up! During the heart of the season we will be taking a look at some match ups, complete with a free pick each trip. Tonight’s entry takes us to the National League for Pirates @ Padres Friday night. Let’s take a look…

Pittsburgh: The Pirates (38-42, 17-21 road) have been struggling lately with just two wins in their last 8 games as pitching injuries continue to be an issue. Looking to improve on the National League’s 12th-ranked 4.54 runs allowed per game is RHP Joe Musgrove (2-3, 4.59 ERA). Musgrove was pounded last outing, allowing 5 runs to the Diamondbacks on 7 hits plus 3 free passes over 4 innings and carries a bloated 7.45 ERA over his last 4 starts.

Offensively, the Bucs have fared a little better with 4.41 runs per contest with a team batting average of .248 and 78 homers. RF Greg Polanco leads the team with 11 long balls but only manages a .226 BA while 1B Josh Bell leads with 40 RBI and only edges Polanco by 20 points in average. One bright spot has been at catcher where Veteran Francisco Cervelli (.257, 9 RH, 38 RBI) is having a fine season but will miss with a concussion. Taking his place will be Elias Diaz, a fine replacement with a .296 average and 5 homers.

San Diego: The Padres (36-47, 18-23 home) have also gone into a tailspin with just 2 victories over their last 11 ball games. The sticks have produced only 3.72 runs per game so far with a team batting average of .233. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a couple bats to watch. 1B Eric Hosmer has 9 homers and 36 ribbies while 3B Christian Villanueva is putting on an all-or-nothing show with 16 homers to go with his .230 BA and 70 strikeouts.

Taking the hill tonight for the Friars is LHP Eric Lauer (3-4, 5.05 ERA) but don’t let the rookie’s season stats fool you – this kid is dealing right now. Last time out, Lauer held the Giants to just 1 earned on 5 hits over 6 innings and has allowed just 7 runs over his last 5 starts (27 2/3 innings) for a tidy 2.28 ERA for that stretch. If you don’t have him on your fantasy team and he’s out there…add him now!

FREE SELECTION: Both these crews are struggling right now and won’t figure in the post-season but the match up does provide a decent opportunity due to Lauer’s misleading season ERA. In this pitcher’s park, we’ll go with the hot pitcher and take the San Diego Padres.

Pick up tonight’s Free Selection at the TOTALS 4 YOU HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You

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