Dodgers vs. Pirates 3-Game Series Coverage

Willie Bee

Monday, July 21, 2014 11:54 AM GMT

Monday, Jul. 21, 2014 11:54 AM GMT

Pittsburgh evened its series against the LA Dodgers on Tuesday behind some big bats, sending the teams to the rubber game of their MLB odds series on Wednesday night.

 

23rd July
Dodgers vs. Pirates Game 3

By: Willie Bee

 

Pittsburgh hitters broke out the big lumber Tuesday night as the Pirates scored more runs than they had in nearly two months. They nearly needed them all to hold off the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 12-7 final.

The decision sends the two teams to a decisive third game in their series on Wednesday, SBR's live MLB odds listing the Pirates around -135 on the chalk line. Dan Haren is slated for Los Angeles opposite Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano, with a 7.5 run total clearly leaning to the low side.

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Liriano Seeking Only 2nd Win Of Campaign
Haren's game has taken a turn for the worse since mid-May when he boasted a 2.84 ERA and the Dodgers were 6-2 in the veteran's first eight starts. In the former Pepperdine standout's subsequent 12 assignments, he has pitched to a 5.39 ERA while LA went 4-8, leaving bettors a little more than a unit in the hole overall in 2014.

He faced the Pirates in LA on May 29, leaving after six innings (3 ER, 2 HR) with a no-decision in Pittsburgh's ultimate 6-3 victory. Haren hasn't been on the PNC Park mound since his days with the D-backs in 2009, and he's 1-0 in two starts here with a 2.91 ERA.

Liriano's one and only victory this season came against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on May 30, the lefty pitching shutout ball into the sixth of a 2-1 Pirates win. He went on the DL with a strained oblique shortly after that assignment, returning just before the all-star break with some control issues (9 BB in 9 IP). Liriano owns a hefty 5.32 ERA at home in nine starts, the Pirates 5-4 in those outings.

Take a Look at the AL's Starting Pitchers with Top Betting Value!

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Laz Diaz has been a good friend to 'over' bettors this season with a 14-4-2 O/U/P record, each of his last four plate assignments sailing past the total with room to spare. His only appearance in Iron City this season failed to reach the number, however, a June 27 contest between the Pirates and Mets that ended in a 3-2 Bucs triumph.

Scattered thunderstorms are part of the Pittsburgh forecast leading up to the game when showers are expected to still be falling in the area.  Both teams do have an open date tomorrow, in case the rain is too heavy, but it would have to be an afternoon makeup since the Dodgers have to be on the other side of the Lower 48 in San Francisco for a weekend series beginning Friday.

Pirates reliever Justin Wilson and manager Clint Hurdle were ejected in Game 2 after Wilson hit LA shortstop Justin Turner in the seventh, all while Dodgers pitchers were busy hitting three Pittsburgh batters with none of them being tossed. That could spill over into tonight's affair, with both Hurdle and Diaz having a bit of history between them from an ejection last year. If any early inside pitches lead to a warning to both sides, it could open up the door for more offense, and that's the way I'm going with my free pick.

MLB Pick: Dodgers-Pirates Over 7.5 (+100)

Season: 90-88 (+2.05)

 

22nd July
Dodgers vs. Pirates Game 2

By: Willie Bee

 

No Yasiel Puig? No Hanley Ramirez? No problem for the Los Angeles Dodgers who opened their series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates with a 5-2 win on Monday despite not having two of their biggest stars in the lineup.

Thanks to Hyun-Jin Ryu's strong outing on the mound, Los Angeles didn't need much offense to pull off the victory. Ryu went seven innings with five strikeouts and only two Pirates coming plateward, then turned things over to his bullpen to complete the contest and cool off a Pittsburgh team that came into the series on a 3-game win streak.

The Dodgers will look to make it two in a row and hold on to at least a share of the lead in the NL West on Tuesday (7:05 PM ET), and Game 2 is close to a tossup with the Bucs slight favorites around -110. Vance Worley gets the call for Pittsburgh, his first start in nearly two weeks. Los Angeles counters with Josh Beckett who has been out of action even longer, and SBR's live MLB odds is showing 8 for the total.

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Beckett To Pitch At PNC For 1st Time In Career
A sore hip sent Beckett to the DL after his June 6 start in Colorado, a solid performance at hitter-friendly Coors Field where the big righty tossed five shutout innings to pick up his sixth win of the season. He made one rehab start and was no mystery to Single-A hitters, and the Dodgers are just 8-9 (-3.4 units) behind Beckett overall.

Beckett was outdueled by Francisco Liriano when the clubs met in LA in late-May, an Ike Davis homer ultimately conspiring against him and the Dodgers in the 2-1 final. That was his first start against the Pirates since 2004, and Tuesday night will be Beckett's first appearance at PNC Park.

Worley is seeing the Dodgers for just the second time, and hopes for better results than the first (2012 in LA, 4 IP, 6 ER). After a good start to his Pirates career in June (1.74 ERA), Worley has come back down to earth in July with a 5.79 ERA with Pittsburgh dropping both starts.

Who Can Defy MLB Odds in Second Half of Season?

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Toby Basner came into this season with just eight plate assignments under his belt as a sub the past two years, and the Ohio native already has 14 games behind the mask in 2014. 'Over' bettors have been pleased with the 29-year-old's performance so far, 10 of those 14 contests skipping past the mark.

Weather wasn't an issue Monday, and that should hold true for Tuesday's tilt as well with clear skies and temps in the mid-80s at game time.

Puig could be back in the LA lineup tonight, but I suspect Ramirez will sit at least one more game. The Dodgers should be able to get to Worley even if both Puig and Ramirez are out again, and though not completely sold on Beckett, I'll ride the Dodgers with my free pick on Tuesday.

MLB Pick: Dodgers +105

Season: 90-86 (+4.05)

 

21st July
Dodgers vs. Pirates Game 1

By: Willie Bee

 

Slowly but surely, the Pittsburgh Pirates are climbing out of an early hole they dug for themselves. A 2nd-straight trip to the playoffs after a 20-year absence appeared to be out of the question when the Bucs sat 8-games under .500 in mid-May, and they limped into the all-star break following a 2-5 road trip through St. Louis and Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh got back on track this past weekend, however, and can now deliver a huge statement the next few days to close out a homestand before a long trip out west. The Los Angeles Dodgers are coming to Iron City as co-leaders of the NL West, and Game 1 of the series is close to a pick 'em on SBR's live MLB odds. Edinson Volquez gets the nod for the Pirates in the 7:05 PM (ET) start, Pittsburgh backers being asked to lay $1.15 for the win. Hyun-Jin Ryu opposes Volquez and the Bucs with a 7.5 run total also being offered on Monday's baseball betting board.

The Dodgers have been running roughshod over the Bucs for a while now, winning more than 70% of contests played from 2001 to now and two-thirds of the matchups at PNC Park since it opened that same season (68-29). It's a bit more level the past two seasons in Pittsburgh (LA 4-3), six of those seven going past the mark at a 9.7 RPG clip.

Pittsburgh is also coming off a 3-1 trip to Los Angeles about seven weeks ago, the only game the Pirates lost ironically -- or is that coincidentally? -- coming against Ryu. 'Over' bettors also came in at 3-1 in that series.

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Dodgers Lead Majors With 30 Road Wins
Los Angeles (55-45, -2.2 units, 47-49-4 O/U/P) avoided St. Louis' brooms over the weekend with a 4-3 win Sunday night, the Dodgers' 30th triumph away from home this year. A couple of injury concerns for LA are Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, both of whom were hit by pitches on their left hands while Han-Ram is also nursing a sore right shoulder.

Ryu has but one hiccup since coming off the DL, and that was two starts ago in Detroit (2.1 IP, 7 R). The lefty bounced right back from that with six shutout innings vs. the Padres, striking out a season-high 10 just before the break. That win snapped a 3-game losing skid for the Dodgers with the South Korean on the bump.

The Pirates managed 10 hits off Ryu when they faced him in LA at the end of May, but couldn't muster more than two runs while the Dodgers were scoring 12 off Bucs pitching. Ryu beat them with a similar performance as a rookie in 2013, and is making his career debut in Pittsburgh.

 

Bucs Look To Add To 3-Game Win Streak
Pittsburgh (52-46, +2.8 units, 44-47-7 O/U/P) relied on its bullpen to sweep the Rockies over the weekend, Pirate relievers logging 11 innings in the three games with only one unearned run coming plateward. Clint Hurdle's relief corps lowered their collective ERA to 3.34 with the effort, 11th-best in the majors.

Volquez was fantastic in his four starts before the all-star break, allowing just three runs over 30 innings with the Pirates winning all four. The Dominican has won his last three outings at home, letting the Cubs and Mets plate just one run over the course of 13 frames while striking out 12.

He beat the Dodgers in LA to end the previous series, a 5-3 decision as a +170 'dog against Zack Greinke. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle lifted Volquez after only 77 pitches with a 4-2 lead and turned it over to the bullpen, and the 10-year veteran is coming off 10-days rest following a season-high 114 tosses in a complete game win at St. Louis on July 10 in a pick 'em.

The likelihood of rain increases in Pittsburgh as the series progresses, but Monday's forecast looks okay with only a 20% chance listed.  Game-time temps should be in the mid-80s with only a hint of a SE breeze (in from left-center).

Conventional wisdom might dictate a wager on the two starting pitchers along with their bullpens to hold the lineups at bay this evening. But I've never considered myself conventional and may will tell you I am not wise, so I'm going with the 'over' for my free pick in Game 1.

MLB Pick: Dodgers-Pirates Over 7.5 (+100)

Season: 90-84 (+6.05)

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