We are now one-third of the way through the 66-day Major League regular season. Our Matt DeSaro gives his top MLB picks of the Thursday Aug 13 slate:

MLB Picks Aug 13, 2020

Pirates (Trevor Williams | 0-3, 3.52) vs. Reds (Anthony DeSclafani | 1-0, 0.00)

The Great American Ballpark will host the opening game of a four-game series between the Pirates and Reds tonight.

The Pirates should be playing the Cardinals today but due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Cincy, the series now includes the Reds.

It doesn’t matter much who the Pirates have played recently, however.  At 3-13 on the season, they have the worst record and baseball and haven’t been able to beat anyone.

Their hope tonight rests on the mediocre and sore shoulders of Trevor Williams.  The 28-year-old righty is still looking for his first win of the season.  To be fair, Williams has not pitched that poorly.  His 0-3 record is mostly a product of the mere six runs of support his team his given him over three starts this year.  Williams has a respectable 3.52 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 15 frames.

Williams doesn’t have a particularly hard task ahead of him as the Reds have looked just as bad as their NL Central rivals. This whole division is a mess actually, with only the Cubs playing at least .500 baseball.

Cincinnati puts tonight’s game in the hands of Anthony DeSclafani who has looked quite impressive so far in 2020.

The 30-year-old righty has not given up a single run, earned or otherwise, in his two starts spanning 11 innings.  He has allowed just five hits and whiffed eight batters in those two starts and has a great matchup against the lowly Pirates.

Through their first 16 games, the Pirates offense is 29th in OPS and 22nd in runs scored.

In fact, they are playing similar to actual pirates this year.  By that I mean they are playing as if they’re all missing one eye and hiding a peg leg under their stirrups.

We hit a pair of totals last night and I’m keeping in that lane tonight as well.  Both of these teams are pretty awful and it’s hard to pick sides.  Sure, DeSclafani has looked amazing so far.  But it’s only a matter of time before he regresses toward his career ERA of 4.06.

While I have little faith in these starters, my feelings about these two lineups are even less. They each rank in the bottom ⅓ in runs scored and batting average with no hope in sight.

This MLB game can still be found at 9½ and my pick is on some quiet bats in Cincinnati tonight, Aug 13.

Best Bet: UNDER 9½ (-120)

Padres (Chris Paddack | 2-1, 3.18) vs. Dodgers (Julio Urias | 1-0, 2.40)

The San Diego Padres need to step up their game if they hope to keep pace with the rest in the National League West standings.  The Padres have gone .500 in their last 14 games and find themselves in third place behind the Rockies and Dodgers.

Turns out, Fernando Tatis Jr, Manny Machado, and Wil Myers might not be enough to keep this offense performing at a high level all season.  They’ve combined for 34 hits and 25 runs, but this team is still losing.

The offense was expected to have a breakout year but no look more broke than anything.

Chris Paddack takes the hill tonight for the visitors and looks to add to his solid 2-1 record and 3.18 ERA.  Paddack has also whiffed an impressive 21 hitters in just 11 innings of work.  He is, however, just 1-1 with a 5.31 ERA against the Dodgers mighty bats.

The Dodgers are also looking for a win after going just .500 in their previous six outings and losing top spot in the division to the surging Rockies.

LA is putting their best foot forward with Kershaw on the mound.

The future Hall of Famer has pitched well after missing his initial start and currently owns a 1-1 record with a 3.60 ERA in two starts. He seems to be a bit tired this season and his workhorse years of pitching 7+ innings might be over.  It’s worth monitoring over his next few starts if you plan to be the Dodgers moving forward.

I like this pitching matchup and I think this game ends up being close than the MLB odds suggest.

There is value here on the Padres with Paddack on the mound at +130 on the moneyline.  But I’m doubling up on the totals again tonight and am looking for another low scoring affair.

A few of the Dodger bats are playing a bit banged up and the Padres offense has not lived up to the hype so far this year.  With one brilliant arm and one overachieving one on the hill, I think this is a combination that results in a pitchers duel tonight.

Best Bet: UNDER 8½ (-110)

That’s it for my MLB picks for Aug 13, 2020. Good luck everyone.