MLB Picks: Nationals vs. Pirates Odds & Preview

Joe Freda

Saturday, May 4, 2013 2:09 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Pirates held on for Friday’s 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals, cashing the weekend’s opener as a 136 home favorite.

Saturday afternoon’s rematch has Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.13 ERA) facing Pirates southpaw Jeff Locke (3-1, 2.83 ERA).

Will Washington bounce back here as road ‘chalk’ against the MLB odds or can the Pirates collect again?

Strasburg falls short in Atlanta

Strasburg picked up a no-decision in Monday’s 3-2 defeat for Washington as a 125 road favorite against the Atlanta Braves. The 24-year-old held Atlanta allowed two earned runs over six frames, while tossing eight strikeouts.

Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard logged his staff’s loss, giving up the Braves’ go-ahead run in the seventh inning. Washington’s Chad Tracy and Kurt Suzuki each notched one RBI, uniting to hit 3-for-8.

The tight affair’s five combined runs ducked below the ‘total’ of seven, moving the UNDER to 4-2 in Strasburg’s six starts. Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper poked his sixth double of the year, with Washington outdrilling Atlanta in hits, 10-7.

Locke stays hot in third win

Locke notched a second straight shutout in Sunday’s 9-0 victory for Pittsburgh as a 185 road dog against the St. Louis Cardinals. The third-year hurler gave up three hits and two walks over seven innings, while reliever Justin Wilson closed the affair’s last two frames.

Pirates catcher Russell Martin cracked two of his side’s four homers, driving in three runs as part of a 3-for-5 day. Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones and Starling Marte combined to hit 5-for-9, including a double from Jones.

The lopsided affair saw the Pirates’ five runs in the ninth inning lift the battle OVER the ‘total’ of seven. Pittsburgh’s cleanup man Gaby Sanchez went a cold 0-for-5, leaving six men on base.

[gameodds]3/226018/43-999997-349/us[/gameodds]

Back Pittsburgh as a home dog

5Dimes.eu opened Strasburg as a 138 road favorite, with early action on Locke dropping the premium to minus 128. The ‘total’ opened at seven, with a lean to the UNDER at minus 110.

I am taking the plus odds here on Locke and the Pirates, looking for another victory in this spot.

Pittsburgh has hit .271 against right-handed pitching at home, while going 7-2 in its last nine home dates against righty starters. The Pirates have cashed at a 9-3 clip in their last 12 spots as an underdog, while Friday’s opener moved Pittsburgh to 5-2 in its last seven meetings with Washington.

Washington is 2-6 in its last eight road games against listed lefties, while logging a 2-5 mark in the team’s last seven spots that came after a defeat. The Nationals have hit .196 against southpaws this year, with a subpar .262 OBP.

Strasburg may find himself doing his part here for Washington, but his squad has gone 0-4 in his last four road starts thanks to a lack of run support. Look for the Pirates to collect here, hanging just enough runs to edge out the Nationals again.

free pick: Pittsburgh Pirates +118 at Bet 365 for your MLB picks

Have a look at Joe C's winning pick from yesterday!