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2013 MLB Betting Weekend Preview: Harvey Faces Tough Task This Saturday

Written by Michael Gordon   
Saturday, 13 July 2013 19:43

MLB Betting Weekend PredictionsThe man who might start for the National League in the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 16 has to worry about his right hand… and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

New York Mets @ Pittsburgh Pirates – Saturday, July 13

Betting services will likely say that the clash between the Mets and the Pirates this Saturday night in the Steel City is likely to be a close one. Two really good starting pitchers will be given the ball by their respective managers. Matt Harvey will take the bump for the Mets, while A.J. Burnett gets the call for the Pirates.

BSN Sports blog reviews will be able to tell you that Harvey’s ERA is 2.35, while Burnett’s is just a shade over three runs. This would naturally seem to suggest that the Mets should win, but of course, starting pitchers don’t represent the totality of a team, and neither do they represent the totality of what occurs in one baseball game.

Both teams’ offenses have been fairly anemic this season, with New York scoring 351 runs in its first 86 games and Pittsburgh scoring 342 in its first 88, an average of under four runs per game. Yet, while the Pirates have had a hard time scoring, their relief pitching – combined with their starting pitching – has been so airtight that they’ve been able to thrive. Whereas New York’s bullpen has been a significant and glaring problem all season long, Pittsburgh’s bullpen – highlighted by closer Jason Grilli – has flourished.

 

This is why the Bucs are more than 16 games over .500 despite a run differential that is lower than plus-50. The Mets do not have more of a problem than the
Pirates in terms of scoring runs, but the difference between these teams – and it’s a substantial one – is that the Pirates score more meaningful runs more frequently. The Pirates manage to dig out one-run wins while the Mets don’t, and when that kind of reality exists, it’s hard to go against the team that has success in close contests.

There’s another simpler and more elemental reason to take Pittsburgh here, though: When immersed in the world of sports betting, it's reasonable to account for the physical and mental state of a starting pitcher. It has been reported earlier this week that Harvey, as great as he’s been during the season, is running into problems. Blisters on his throwing hand were disclosed this week. They have evidently hampered Harvey, and the numbers back up the claim – Harvey has given up a total of eight runs in his last two starts. This is not the same pitcher who dominated the National League through the middle of June.

When visiting a reputable online sports betting outlet for information on this game, you'll be told that Harvey – just before the All-Star Game, which will be hosted by the New York Mets – will face not just physical limitations, but the mental challenge of wanting to perform well while also preserving his throwing hand for the All-Star Game. Harvey wants to make the All-Star Game count, which is precisely why this start will be so tricky for him to handle. Take Pittsburgh for this reason, in addition to the strength of the Pirates’ bullpen. Harvey will have to pull off a delicate balancing act in order for the Mets to win, and it seems likely that he will fail in the attempt.

My Pick: Pittsburgh

 
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