With a full slate of baseball on tap to open up the weekend, MLB handicapper Dalton Brown is already targeting a pair of best bets for Friday's packed schedule.
8:10 p.m. ET: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers: Brewers moneyline (-130) at DraftKings
The Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates will continue their weekend series from American Family Field on Friday, and I am not shying away from the Brew Crew after Devin Williams blew up a possible winner for us on Wednesday. Milwaukee still has the better offense between these two, and the far superior bullpen. On Friday, I like the Brewers' starter better too.
Rookie Quinn Priester will get the ball for Pittsburgh on Friday, and while the Bucs are high on the righty, he has looked wholly overwhelmed at the MLB level so far. Priester has allowed four or more runs in all three of his big league starts so far, and completely fell apart from a command perspective in his last outing when he walked six batters. Pittsburgh should almost always be a larger underdog than they are here behind the rookie, at least until he figures things out.
Colin Rea will take the bump for Milwaukee, a league-average righty who has done a good job this season of taking advantage of soft spots on his schedule. Rea pitched against the Pirates on July 2, going 6.2 innings while allowing only two earned runs in the win. The Brewers are 5-1 overall this season against Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee's bullpen ranks No. 1 in MLB since July 1 with a xFIP of 3.09. Against the Pirates 29th-ranked offense in xFIP against righties that just lost a run producer in Carlos Santana at the deadline, the Brewers are too cheap at -130.
8:15 p.m. ET: Colorado Rockies at St. Louis Cardinals: OVER 9.5 (-118) at DraftKings
The Rockies and Cardinals will kick off a three-game set from St. Louis on Friday, and each team is sending one of the worst pitchers in all of baseball to the mound for a start. All things considered, 9.5 is entirely too low for this total, and I expect it will rise to double-digits within a few hours.
Chris Flexen, who starts for the Rockies, holds a putrid 6.74 xERA this season. Flexen has made one MLB start since joining Colorado, a 3.2-inning disaster in which he surrendered six runs and walked six batters against the worst team in baseball (Oakland). St. Louis maintained most of its offensive pieces through the trade deadline, and ranks seventh in baseball in wRC+ vs. righties since June 15. I would be surprised to see Flexen still out there by the fifth inning.
If there's a starter across MLB that has been worse than Flexen, it is Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright. Waino, who at this point is just playing out the season before he rides off into the sunset, has been dreadful. His 7.59 sERA is unspeakably bad, and he ranks dead-last among qualified MLB pitchers in xERA, xBA, xSLG, strikeout rate, and whiff rate. I don't care how bad Colorado's offense looks away from Coors Field - it would be a shock to see the Rockies not get after the ghost of Adam Wainwright.
Both bullpens were picked through by other teams at the trade deadline, too, so I'm not expecting relief when the starters exit. Expect a ton of runs at Busch on Friday.