Misleading ERAs in Pirates-Dodgers Matchup Lead to ‘Under’ Bet

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 10:51 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 9, 2017 10:51 PM UTC

Just about everything that could go wrong has for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. They are big underdogs Wednesday night (10:10 ET) when closing out a three-game series at the surging Los Angeles Dodgers.

MLB Season Record: 12-6

Pittsburgh Pirates At Los Angeles Dodgers (-220, 7.5)

It’s the end of a three-game series Wednesday night as Pittsburgh visits the LA Dodgers, two teams that have been hit hard by injuries this season.

About three weeks ago, I looked at the 80-game drug suspension of Pittsburgh’s best position player, Gold Glove center fielder Starling Marte. I wrote then it was a good time to fade the Pirates with the loss of Marte’s bad, speed and glove and that Pittsburgh was going to miss the playoffs again.

I stand by that story with Pittsburgh last in the NL Central, but now the Bucs are really in trouble. One of the most promising young pitchers in baseball is Pirates 25-year-old right-hander Jameson Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft. He made 18 starts as a rookie last year in the majors and was 5-4 with a 3.38 ERA. This season, he was 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA in six starts.

However, on Saturday the team announced it was placing Taillon on the 10-day DL with groin discomfort. Unfortunately, it’s much more serious than that as Taillon had surgery Monday in Pittsburgh for suspected testicular cancer. What a shame for a guy who already has had a Tommy John procedure, sports hernia surgery and took a line drive off his head in his young career. Taillon is obviously going to miss a while, although playing baseball is clearly secondary to his health. Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35 and more than 95 percent of cases are treated successfully. Pittsburgh moved Trevor Williams from the bullpen to take Taillon's place in the rotation on Monday and Williams was bombed by the Dodgers.

It’s just another gut-punch for this team. These guys are human. They are likely to go into a bit of a tailspin with this news. In addition, third baseman David Freese and outfielder Adam Frazier are on the DL, and infielder Jung Ho Kang has been on the restricted list all season because of DUI arrests in his native South Korea. He hasn’t been able to get a work visa for the USA.

The Dodgers are without the right side of their infield with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and second baseman Logan Forsythe both on the DL. The latter has been out since April 18 with a hamstring injury but might be back this weekend. Gonzalez is on the DL for the first time in his stellar career. He’s dealing with a back injury and likely to miss more than 10 days. The Dodgers have a capable replacement in top prospect Cody Bellinger, who has been tearing the cover off the ball since debuting on April 25. He was named NL Player of the Week on Monday. He’s an early MLB betting favorite for NL Rookie of the Year.


Wednesday’s Probable Pitchers

Pittsburgh goes with 24-year-old right-hander Chad Kuhl, who is Taillon’s roommate in Pittsburgh. Kuhl is 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA in six starts and has been rather unlucky in his past two. He threw three shutout innings Friday vs. Milwaukee but then there was a long rain delay and Kuhl was lifted. The start before that, Kuhl lasted only four innings vs. Miami as he was hit in the leg by a comebacker. Kuhl’s ERA is bloated because of a terrible April 24 outing vs. the Cubs when he allowed nine runs in 1.2 innings.

Kuhl was 2-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts last year vs. the Dodgers. They hit .238 off him. Joc Pederson is 1-for-3 with a solo homer against him. Corey Seager is 2-for-5 with a double. Justin Turner is 2-for-2 with a double and homer.

The Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda (2-2, 5.81) started the season with four shaky starts and an 8.05 ERA but has been much better in the past two with just three earned runs allowed and 16 strikeouts over 12 innings against the Phillies and Padres. Last year as a rookie, Maeda lost his lone start vs. Pittsburgh, giving up four runs over five innings at PNC Park. Andrew McCutchen went yard twice off him.

Pittsburgh’s offense is in a funk right now as it had scored more than two runs just one in the previous six games. Meanwhile, the ‘under’ is 6-2 in Kuhl’s past eight starts. So the ‘under’ is our MLB pick as both pitchers have misleading ERAs.

MLB Free Pick: ‘Under’ 7.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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