Pittsburgh took Game 2 of this series Saturday 4-2, rallying from a 2-0 deficit with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings and two in the seventh. Reliever Justin Wilson picked up the victory to go to 6-1 on the season, and closer Jason Grilli tossed a perfect ninth for his 29th save.
The Pirates, thank you very much, won as -170 favorites on Saturday's betting line, and the game, like Friday's series opener, played UNDER its total of 7.5.
So the Bucs, who are now tied for first place in the NL Central with St. Louis, will try to complete the sweep when the teams meet for the final game of this series Sunday afternoon (1:35 pm ET).
Sunday's Betting Lines
As of Sunday morning most baseball books were listing Pittsburgh and Gerrit Cole at around -155 over New York and expected starter Dillon Gee, with a total of 7.5.
Sunday's Pitching Match-Up
Rookie Cole (4-2, 3.68), by our tough standards, is 3-for-6 on quality starts this season, but he's also yet to allow more than three runs in any of his outings. Last time out Cole gave up two runs in seven innings vs. Oakland, but over his last three starts he's allowed eight ER on 21 hits and six walks in 18 1/3 innings.
For the season, which for call-up Cole began June 11, he's given up 39 hits in 36 2/3 innings, walked seven and struck out 20.
Pittsburgh has won four of Cole's six starts this year.
This will be Cole's first-ever start vs. the Mets.
Gee (6-7, 4.60) is only 7-for-18 on quality starts this year, but six for his last eight. He's coming off a rough outing in which he got nicked for five runs and nine hits, with five walks, in a 6 2/3 innings vs. the Giants, but in six of his previous seven starts he gave up two runs or less.
For the season Gee has allowed 122 hits in 103 2/3 innings, walked 31 and struck out 87.
New York is 9-9 in Gee's starts this year.
In his one start this season vs. Pittsburgh Gee gave up one run and five hits in five innings of a 3-2 Mets win back on May 9.
Our Take on Sunday's Game
Gee has been better as of late, and he had a good outing vs. Pittsburgh earlier this year. Cole, on the other hand, has never faced New York, which in our book gives him a certain advantage. Also, the Pirates hold the edge in the battle of the bullpens, and while Pittsburgh is 19 games above .500 vs. right-handed starters this year, the Mets are 15 games under the break-even mark vs. righties. So we'll take the Pirates for our free MLB pick for Sunday.
By: Ron Patrick
Saturday's Game 2
Pittsburgh came away with Friday's series opener 3-2, scoring the winning run on a Jordy Mercer base hit in the bottom of the 11th inning.
The Pirates, to our dismay, won as -145 favorites on Friday's MLB betting board, and the game played UNDER its total of 7.5.
So Pittsburgh will shoot for its fifth-straight victory in this season series vs. the Mets when the teams meet for Game 2 of this series Saturday evening (7:15 pm ET).
Saturday's Betting Odds
In the early betting on Saturday's game most books were listing Pittsburgh and AJ Burnett at around -180 over New York and scheduled starter Carlos Torres, with the total proffered at 7.5. But most books then also dropped that price considerably, to around -150.
The Pirates could also be gotten at around +120 giving the run and a half on the run line.
Saturday's Pitching Match-Up
Burnett (4-6, 3.05) is 8-for-15 on quality starts this season, and pitched well in his first start after coming off the DL last week, holding the Cubs to one earned run in five innings last Sunday. He should also be well-rested for Saturday, after throwing just 66 pitches six days ago.
On the season Burnett has allowed just 69 hits in 94 1/3 innings, walked 37 and struck out 102.
But thanks in large part to some lousy run support Pittsburgh is just 6-9 in Burnett's starts, losing games by scores of 3-1, 1-0, 3-2, 2-1, 4-2, 2-1 and 4-3.
Burnett last faced the Mets back in May of 2011, when as a Yankee he gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 7-3 victory.
Torres (0-1, 0.51) will be making his first start of this season, after 10 relief appearances, and just the seventh start of his ML career, as he gets a shot at the spot in the Mets rotation vacated by Shaun Marcum. He earned his chance by allowing just one run and 13 hits in 17 2/3 innings of relief work, walking just two while striking out 15.
Most recently Torres made two appearances earlier this week during the Mets' sweep of the Giants in San Francisco, giving up five hits and one unearned run in four innings, walking none and striking out three.
Torres has pitched one inning in his career vs. Pittsburgh, a scoreless frame last July.
Our Take on Saturday's Game
The line on Pittsburgh for today's game dropped big-time at some places, from an early -180 to a much more palatable -145 or so, and we're thankful, because while the Pirates are 45-27 against right-handed starting pitchers this season, the Mets are 21-35 vs. righties. So we'll gladly take the reduced price with Pittsburgh for our free MLB pick for Saturday.
By: Ron Patrick
The New York Mets are stuck in fourth place in the NL East, but have won four games in a row.
How should we approach a three-game weekend series at PNC Park between these two teams, beginning Friday night, from a betting perspective?
Well, since you asked …
Mets-Pirates Betting Lines
In the early wagering most baseball betting outlets we consulted were listing Pittsburgh and Charlie Morton at around -145 on the MLB odds boardsfor Friday night's game over New York and Jeremy Hefner, with a total of 7.5.
Also, The Greek was listing the Pirates at a heavy -220 to win this series, with the Mets getting +180.
Mets-Pirates Series Set-Up
Pittsburgh just dropped two of three games at home to Oakland, avoiding the sweep with a 5-0 victory Thursday that broke a four-game losing streak.
So, Pittsburgh, at 54-36, sits in second place in the NL Central, one game back of first-place St. Louis.
New York, on the other hand, just swept three games from the defending World Series champion Giants in San Francisco, completing the brooming with a 7-2 win Wednesday.
So the Mets, at 40-48, are in fourth place in the NL East, 11 games back of division-leading Atlanta.
In the first meeting between these two teams this season the Pirates took three of four games from New York at Citi Field back in May, outscoring the Mets 23-10.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Morton (1-2, 3.38), by our strict standards, is 0-for-5 on quality starts this season, which for him didn't begin until June. But he's actually pitched a little better than that. Most recently he gave up four runs in six innings vs. the Cubs, but in his four starts previous to that he had allowed five ER over 18 innings.
On the year Morton has given up 23 hits in 24 innings, walked nine and struck out 18.
The Pirates have won three of his five starts.
This will be Morton's first start this year vs. the Mets; last year, in his lone start vs. New York, Morton allowed three ER and eight hits in seven innings of a 3-1 Pittsburgh loss in May.
After a rough start to this season Hefner (4-6, 3.39), by our tough standards, is now 10-for-17 on quality starts, and four for his last four. Last time out he held Milwaukee to one run and two hits through seven innings, and over his last four starts he's allowed five ER through 26 innings. In fact, Hefner hasn't allowed more than two ER in any of his last seven starts.
On the season Hef has given up 93 hits in 101 innings, walked 28 and struck out 79.
The Mets lost 11 of Hefner's first 12 starts this season, but have now won his last five outings.
This will be Hefner's first start this season against Pittsburgh; last year, in his lone career start vs. the Pirates, Hefner held them scoreless on three hits through seven innings of a 6-0 Mets victory in September.
Mets-Pirates Betting Trends
New York may be eight games under .500 overall this season but it's 23-21 on the road.
Pittsburgh is 30-17 at home this year.
The OVER/UNDERS are 18-28 in games played at PNC Park this season.
Our Take on Friday's Game
The Pirates have had a fine first half of this season, but they've stumbled a bit lately, going a little cold with the sticks. The Mets, meanwhile, might be coming around, thanks in part to the efforts of Hefner. And New York is a decent team on the road. So we'll take the underdog price and go with the Mets for our free MLB pick for Friday.
Baseball bettors should check back at this page for updated odds, pitching match-ups and more free MLB picks as this series plays out.