The series starts with a marquee matchup, slating Pirates lefty Jeff Locke (8-1, 2.12 ERA) against Athletics right-hander Bartolo Colon (11-3, 2.78 ERA). LEt's evaluate the matchup for our baseball picks.
Pirates fall in 11 frames
Pittsburgh returns home after two straight losses to the Chicago Cubs, capped off by Sunday’s 4-3 defeat as a 137 favorite in 11 innings. Pirates outfielder Starling Marte homered late to tie the duel, 3-3, while reliever Bryan Morris gave up a walkoff sacrifice fly to log his staff’s loss.
Oakland started its road trip with a 2-1 weekend in Kansas City, outscoring the Royals by a combined 19-11 margin. Athletics second baseman Eric Sogard cracked one of his side’s three homers in Sunday’s 10-4 win, uniting with mate Josh Reddick for seven RBIs.
Locke holds off Phillies
Locke notched his second straight win in Wednesday’s 6-5 triumph for Pittsburgh over the Philadelphia Phillies, cashing as 197 home ‘chalk.’ The New Hampshire native gave up two earned runs on seven hits, standing in for 5 2/3 innings.
Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez cracked his 21st homer, giving his squad a 4-1 lead. Pittsburgh’s Russell Martin logged two RBIs, while Andrew McCutchen finished with a 3-for-3 night.
Colon outdueled at home
Colon saw his streak of eight straight wins end on the same evening, falling as a 203 home favorite in Oakland’s 3-1 defeat to the Cubs. The 40-year-old allowed two runs over seven frames, surrendering a homer to Chicago’s Luis Valbuena as part of nine hits.
Oakland’s lineup was held to four hits in the tight affair, including outfielder Yoenis Cespedes going 0-for-3 from the cleanup spot. Athletics relievers Sean Doolittle and Jesse Chavez closed the affair, while the contest’s four runs stayed UNDER the ‘total’ of 7 ½ to collect for my followers.
Back the Pirates as short ‘chalk’
Locke opened as a 115 home favorite at William Hill, while initial action on Oakland shifted the MLB odds to a pick’em. The ‘total’ was first listed at 7 ½, with a minus 115 tag added to the UNDER.
I am backing Pittsburgh and Locke at home in this spot, looking for Clint Hurdle’s club to pull out a close victory over Colon and Co.
Locke has picked up winning decisions in three of his last four home starts, allowing no homers over the span’s 25 IP. The stretch’s sole spot against an American League club saw Pittsburgh notch a 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers, with Locke tossing a scoreless 5 1/3 frames.
Colon has been sharp, but enters PNC Park with a 1.21 WHIP over his eight road outings. The Athletics’ bats may not do their part for the veteran, hitting just .231 against left-handed pitching away from home.
Oakland has gone 3-10 in its last 13 interleague road spots facing a lefty starter, while Pittsburgh has cashed at a 12-2 clip in its last 14 home dates facing an American League club starting a right-hander. Look for these trends to hold serve here, giving the money to Pirates backers at a low premium.
Free Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates -110 at William Hill[gameodds]3/238275/?r-1=43-349-192/us[/gameodds]