Giants vs. Pirates Game 3
By: Willie Bee
It took replay to halt the San Francisco Giants' 6-game win streak, pushing them and the Pittsburgh Pirates to a deciding third game of their series at PNC Park.
The two clubs reconvene in Iron City for the first game on Wednesday's packed MLB schedule, a 12:35 PM (ET) first pitch to be delivered by the Pirates' Gerrit Cole with Tim Lincecum opposing him on the mound for the Giants. Pittsburgh opened as $1.35 chalk for the tilt, and remains at or near that moneyline price following overnight action.
Scoreboard bettors have to decide on a 7 run total, SBR's live baseball odds showing it evenly split high/low at some outlets while others lean to the 'over.'
Tuesday's matchup saw Tim Hudson and Charlie Morton hook up in a classic pitchers duel that went to the ninth knotted 1-1. Hudson was still on the hill when Pirates outfielder Starling Marte blasted an offering to right that caromed off the wall as Marte raced around the bases. An errant throw to third sent Marte home, and he was initially called out by home plate Quinn Wolcott, but replays showed his hand just reaching the plate before Buster Posey's tag, giving Pittsburgh the 2-1 win.
Can Giants Start New
Streak Behind Timmy?
Lincecum got the Giants' road trip started on a winning note last Friday in Atlanta where San Francisco posted a 2-1 victory. The Freak was a +125 underdog and worked around six hits plus three walks in his six frames to help the Giants to their fifth dubya in his six trips to the bump this season.
San Francisco has dropped each of Lincecum's last two starts at PNC Park, the little righty allowing eight runs in the same number of innings. He burned through more than 100 pitches last June on this mound without making it out of the fifth inning in an 8-2 Pirates decision.
Bucs Escape NL
Central Cellar With Game 2 Win
The Bucs broke a string of three consecutive defeats with Cole on the mound in his outing last Friday vs. the Blue Jays. The former Bruin left after five innings with a 4-3 deficit, but Pittsburgh rallied behind a couple of 9th-inning homers for the 6-5 win.
Cole made his MLB debut about 11 months ago against the Giants, earning the first of four consecutive dubyas to begin his big league career. The big righty was efficient enough with only 81 pitches one out into the seventh, walking none and allowing seven hits in Pittsburgh's 8-2 triumph.
Heavy rains were falling on Pittsburgh early Wednesday morning, and a few showers could still be lingering at game time.
I like San Francisco to bounce back in this one, scoring just enough runs to get another victory with Lincecum on the hill. My free MLB pick will be on Timmy & Company.
My Pick: Giants +125
Season: 33-36 (-3.9)
Giants vs. Pirates Game 2
By: Willie Bee
An early offensive barrage that included eight extra base hits left the San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates knotted at 10 apiece after nine innings. So naturally, the game was decided in the 13th on a bunt that traveled about 25 feet.
San Francisco was on the good end of that bunt to pick up its sixth consecutive victory, and the Giants will have Tim Hudson on the mound Tuesday as a slight favorite to make it seven straight. First pitch will be delivered at 7:05 PM by Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton, and 7.5 is the most common total on SBR's live baseball odds.
Hudson Has Struggled At PNC Park
Both bullpens were busy Monday as starting pitchers Yusmeiro Petit and Jeff Locke only recorded about a third of the 78 outs on the evening. San Fran manager Bruce Bochy may not have primary setup arm Santiago Casilla at his disposal tonight after the Dominican threw 40 pitches in Game 1, his second straight call from the 'pen.
With only one rough outing among his six April appearances, Hudson looks to continue a fine start to his 2014 season. The 38-year-old veteran has shown no signs of trouble from the ankle surgery that shortened his 2013 campaign, holding hitters to a .195 average with an eye-popping 31/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Hudson faced the Pirates 11 times during his tenure with the Braves from 2005-13, and Atlanta only managed to win four of those games while he registered a 3.48 ERA in nearly 70 innings. He was 1-4 in five starts at PNC Park while in an Atlanta jersey with a 4.59 ERA.
Morton Aims To Stop
4-Game Losing Streak
Desperation has to be rearing its head for Bucs manager Clint Hurdle right now after seeing his team drop its 20th game of the season. Pittsburgh didn't suffer loss No. 20 last year until May 27, and the Pirates were 11 games above .500 then.
After he no-decisioned in a pair of Pirate wins to begin his season, Morton has since lost four straight assignments with his offense and defense partly to blame. He worked into the sixth last Thursday in Baltimore, allowing seven hits and four runs (2 earned) in a 5-1 setback.
A teammate of Hudson's in Atlanta back in his rookie '08 campaign, he has pitched well against the Giants the past few seasons with a 1.99 ERA and the Pirates going 2-3 in those matchups. Angel Pagan has given Morton fits in the past, stroking nine hits in his 12 at bats against him.
It should be a nice night for a ballgame when the clubs take the field under mostly clear skies and the thermometer in the mid-60s at the start of Game 2. I see no reason to jump off San Francisco at this time, and offer up small road chalk for my free baseball pick.
My Pick: Giants -115
Season: 33-34 (-1.8)
Giants vs. Pirates Game 1
By: Willie Bee
Knocked around by both their opponents and the weather to close out a disappointing month of April, the Pittsburgh Pirates are facing a pretty tough schedule if they want to turn things around. The Bucs are pointed in the right direction after taking two of three from the Blue Jays, but now have to face the red-hot San Francisco Giants.
PNC Park is the site for Monday's opener, the first meeting between the two in 2014. Both teams are shuffling their rotations due to injuries, and that has delayed the MLB odds from being released. Yusmeiro Petit is expected to start for the Giants while the Pirates recall Jeff Locke for the 7:05 PM (ET) contest.
It's a series that dates back to the 1880s when the clubs were known as the Gothams and Alleghenys, and Monday's matchup will be No. 2,137 in the record books. The Giants have a sizeable advantage all-time, but the teams are dead-level the last 80 get-togethers, and have played each other evenly in that span whether the games have been in Pittsburgh or San Francisco.
The Pirates have a slim 20-19 edge at PNC Park since it opened in 2001, and took two of three on this field last season. All three of those contests sailed past the totals as the lineups combined to plate 40 runs on 73 hits.
G-Men On Roll As They
Reach Iron City
San Francisco (20-11, +8.8 units, 14-16-1 O/U/P) started a 10-game road trip in fine fashion by sweeping the Braves over the weekend. Winners nine times the last 10 trips to the diamond, the Giants have built on their lead in the NL West behind a pitching staff that owns a 1.44 ERA over the course of the last nine tilts.
Matt Cain was $1.35 chalk when he started the finale of last year's series in Pittsburgh, paying off for his backers with 6+ innings of 2-hit baseball as the Giants blanked the Bucs, 10-0. The G-Men thought he would be on the mound tonight after missing his last start due to a cut on his right index finger, but the laceration is healing slower than expected leaving San Fran no choice but to place him on the DL.
Petit started in Cain's place last Tuesday and was outstanding at home against the Padres. The stocky Venezuelan tossed six shutout frames, allowing just three hits and nary a walk while striking out four to get the victory in his first assignment since losing to San Diego last September. He last saw the Pirates in 2009 when he made a couple of starts against them, blanking the Bucs with eight 1-hit innings in Pittsburgh that August.
Bucs Back To Old Ways In NL
Hoping to build off its 2013 turnaround, Pittsburgh (12-19, -8.4 units, 14-15-2 O/U/P) instead finds itself in familiar territory bringing up the rear of the NL Central. Things started well enough for Clint Hurdle and the Pirates who won five of their first seven, but things have since gone south. Pittsburgh showed signs of life this past weekend to begin this homestand by taking two of the first three from the Blue Jays, but couldn't finish them off in Sunday's 7-2 setback.
The Pirates hoped to have Wandy Rodriguez back from the DL for this series, but he continues to mend his knee on rehab. That's why Locke is expected to get the call from Triple-A after being sent down when an oblique injury slowed his preparations during spring training. The lefty hasn't exactly been dominant in the minors with a 5.04 ERA over five starts, but he did enjoy a pretty fair 2013 campaign with Pittsburgh (10-7, 3.52 ERA).
Locke faced the Giants one time last August, and it certainly wasn't one of his better efforts. The 26-year-old walked four and allowed three runs in his four innings on the AT&T Park mound, the Pirates enjoying a big inning to eventually coast to a 10-5 victory.
There is a 30% chance of showers this afternoon and evening in Pittsburgh where it's not expected to get out of the 50s. I'm predicting a 100% chance the Giants keep their streak alive for our MLB picks, and will be watching SBR's live MLB odds to catch the moneyline when it comes out.
My Pick: Lean Giants, Awaiting Lines
Season: 32-33 (-1.8)