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Well, it had to happen sometime. After a strong start to the week, it all came crashing down Thursday, as Tyler Chatwood forgot how to pitch and the Indians remembered how to hit. Nothing wipes away the memories quite like a perfect Friday card, so let's get to it.
Nothing like betting a short line between two of the worst teams in baseball, eh? Dig a little deeper, though, and there are plenty of reasons to back the home team in this one.
Start with Boyd, who entered the year with ace upside and dud downside. He showed filthy stuff last season behind a 30.2% strikeout rate, but Boyd's league-worst 1.89 HR/9 teased the dangers of his approach. Spoiler alert: He can't miss bats this year, and the results have been awful - his 5.7% soft-contact rate is dead last among qualified pitchers, and his 54.3% pull rate ranks in the top five.
The Pirates' lineup is by no means impressive, but Josh Bell and Colin Moran are both pull-heavy hitters with solid contact rates. There's arguably more upside in those two than in the Tigers' order, which ranks last in strikeout rate (30.3%) and third-last in hard-hit rate (33.2%). Kuhl is no ace, but he was effective in his first appearance this year before an injury chased him from his second. Assuming his finger is OK, he won't need much to overwhelm Detroit's hitters.
There are also the lingering effects of the Tigers' layoff, as they haven't played since Aug. 2 thanks to a suspended series with St. Louis. Teams are scoring nearly a full run fewer per game and serving up 33% more home runs following a layoff of at least four days. In an already poor spot for Detroit, take the cheaper price on the home 'dogs.
Pick: Pirates (-105)
Can you imagine a more lopsided matchup with odds like these? The Rockies have been the most profitable team in baseball ($683 return on $100 bets), ranking third in average run differential (+2) and fourth in win percentage (75%) through the first two weeks. The Mariners have been predictably bad, with the worst average run differential (-2.21) and ERA (6.00) in the majors.
Kikuchi showed some upside in his last start - namely improved velocity on his fastball - but he also hasn't strung together consecutive quality starts in his last 21 appearances dating back to 2019, so don't get too excited by one strong outing. He'll need his best stuff against a Colorado offense that's plated at least five runs in nine of its last 10 games.
There's always concern betting the Rockies on the road - they were the third-worst road bet of 2019 - but that hasn't been the case this year. Colorado has actually posted the third-best road profit ($425) behind a 4-1 record away from Coors Field, and it's 4-2 overall against teams currently below .500.
The Rockies are the better team with a superior lineup, more effective pitching staff, and profitable spot to bet. What's not to like at this price?
Pick: Rockies (-110)
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.