Thursday's Game Four
By: Ron Patrick
San Diego has taken the first three games of this series following Wednesday's 3-2 victory.
The Padres won Wednesday as +150 dogs on the MLB betting line, and to our delight the game played UNDER on the total. The Pads are now up $470 for this series, based on those theoretical $100 wagers.
With three straight losses Pittsburgh has fallen two games behind St. Louis in the NL Central race.
So as unlikely as it sounds San Diego shoots for the sweep of this four-game series, while the Pirates will try to avoid such a fate, when the teams meet for a get-away game Thursday afternoon (12:35 pm ET).
Thursday's Betting Line
Most books we consulted Thursday morning opened this game with Pittsburgh and Gerrit Cole chalked at around -160 over San Diego and Ian Kennedy, with a total of seven. Most books then also bumped the Pirates to the -180 range.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Cole (8-7, 3.33) is 11-for-17 on qulaity starts this season, and working on a string of six in a row. Last time out he held the Cubs to one run through seven innings, and over his last six starts he's allowed 10 ER through 39 1/3 innings.
For the season, which for Cole began in June, he's given up 98 hits in 105 innings, walked 24 and whiffed 82.
Pittsburgh is 10-7 in Cole's starts this year.
In his one start this season against San Diego Cole gave up two runs on 10 hits through six innings of a 2-1 Pirates loss Aug. 21.
Kennedy (6-9, 4.85) is only 10-for-29 on quality starts this season, and one for his last four, despite not pitching too badly. Last time out he gave up three ER in six innings against Atlanta, but we don't credit him with a QS because that's a 4.50 ERA. Just before that gave allowed one ER in five innings against Colorado, but we don't give him a QS because he didn't pitch six innings.
Over his last three starts Kennedy as allowed five ER through 17 innings, and the Padres have won his last three starts.
For the season Kennedy has given up 167 hits, including 25 homers, in 171 innings, walked 72 and struck out 154.
Since getting him in that trade with Arizona back in late July San Diego has gone 5-3 in Kennedy's starts.
In his one start this season against Pittsburgh Kennedy threw seven innings of four-hit, shut-out ball in that 2-1 Padres victory Aug. 21.
Our Take on Thursday's Game
We're 2-0-1 with the UNDERS on this series, and since we still – at the moment - don't trust the Pirates we'll stick with the UNDER for today's free MLB pick.
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
The Padres got a three-run homer from Jedd Gyorko, the 19th of his rookie season, to take the lead for good in the second inning, and starter Eric Stults and three relievers backed it up.
San Diego won as a +165 post-time underdog Tuesday, and the game pushed its total of seven.
The Padres, for whatever reason, have now won 18 of their last 21 games against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
The Bucs, on the other hand, have now scored a total of 11 runs in losing three of their last five games.
With the loss, and a St. Louis win out in Colorado, the Pirates fell a game behind the Cardinals in the battle for first place in the NL Central.
Game 3 of this four-game set is slated for Wednesday evening (7:05 pm ET).
Wednesday's Betting Line
Most sportsbooks opened Pittsburgh and Charlie Morton at around -160 over San Diego and Tyson Ross, with a total of seven. Most books then also dropped the Pirates a dime, to around -150.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Morton (7-4, 3.54) is 7-for-17 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last two. Last time out he gave up three runs in five innings against the Cubs, and just before that he got nicked for five runs in less than two innings against St. Louis, although he was dealing with a sore heel at the time.
Prior to that Morton has strung together six straight quality starts.
For the season Morton has allowed more hits, 103, than innings pitched, 97, walked 27 and struck out 68. He's also only given up six home runs, just one in his last 10 outings.
Pittsburgh is 10-7 in Morton's starts this year.
This will be Morton's first start against San Diego since 2009.
Ross (3-8, 3.29) is coming off his worst outing of the season, in which he got tagged for six runs in the first inning of a 10-5 loss to Philly. But in his two starts previous to that he held the Dodgers and Rockies to one run through 12 innings. So we might regard his last performance as an anomaly.
On the season Ross is 6-for-13 on quality starts, has allowed fewer hits, 87, than innings pitched, 104, and owns a 99/40 K/BB ratio.
But San Diego, thanks in part to some lousy run support, is just 5-8 in Ross' starts this year.
In his one start this season against Pittsburgh Ross gave up four ER through 6 1/3 innings of an 8-1 Padres loss back on Aug. 20.
Check out Wednesday's MLB Odds & Betting Report~
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
We haven't trusted the Pirates yet in this series, because they don't score a lot of runs, San Diego has thrown a couple of decent pitchers against them, and they've been big favorites both games. Instead, we won with the UNDER Monday night and pushed on the UNDER Tuesday. As for Wednesday's game we're going to call the pitching match-up about even, and again, we're not sure who's going to win. So again, we'll look toward the total for our free pick and go with the UNDER.
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
San Diego grabbed the opener of this series Monday night 2-0, behind a masterful one-hitter from starter Andrew Cashner, who didn't give up a hit until the seventh inning and faced the minimum 27 batters.
The Padres won as +155 underdogs on Monday's MLB odds, and the game, to our delight, played UNDER its total of seven.
Despite the loss the Pirates remained in a first-place tie atop the NL Central with the Cardinals, who lost at Colorado Monday night 2-1.
San Diego has now won 17 of its last 20 games in Pittsburgh.
Game 2 of this four-game series is set for Tuesday night (7:05 pm ET).
Follow our Daily MLB Betting Odds Report for a full rundown of our picks.
Tuesday's Betting Line
As of Tuesday AM most MLB betting books were listing Pittsburgh and Jeff Locke at around -180 over San Diego and Eric Stults, with a total of seven. The Pirates could also be gotten at around +120 on the run line.
Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Locke (10-5, 3.14), by our tough standards, is 12-for-28 on quality starts this year, but just one for his last eight. Last time out he held the Cubs to one run and three hits through seven innings, but over his previous seven outings he had given up 26 ER through 31 2/3 innings.
For the season Locke has allowed fewer hits, 136, than innings pitched, 160, and struck out 119, but walked 79, which is too many.
Pittsburgh is 15-13 in Locke's starts this year.
This will be Locke's first-ever start against San Diego.
Fellow lefty Stults (8-13, 4.03) is 14-for-30 on quality starts this year, but just one for his last six. Last time out he held the Phillies to two runs through six innings, but in his five starts previous to that he had given up 22 ER in 27 2/3 innings.
On Aug. 7 Stults' ERA sat at 3.50; since then it's gone up over a half-run.
On the season Stults has allowed more hits, 198, than innings pitched, 185, and owns a 118/37 K/BB ratio.
San Diego is 14-16 in Stults' starts this year.
This will be Stults' first-ever start against Pittsburgh.
The OVER/UNDERS are a combined 22-34 in Stults and Locke's starts this season.
Our Take on Tuesday's Game
This is a tough one; the pitching match-up is about a wash, and both teams are having some trouble scoring runs. Honestly, we're not sure who's going to win this game. So for our free sports pick for Tuesday we'll again look toward the total and go with the UNDER.
Pick: Take the UNDER seven runs at the -104 offered at Pinnacle.
Monday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
The Pittsburgh Pirates are tied for first place in the NL Central, and would love to avoid that one-game wild-card playoff.
Maybe the Bucs can make some hay when they host San Diego for four games at PNC Park, starting Monday night (7:05 pm ET).
Monday's Betting Lines
In the early betting most baseball books were listing Pittsburgh and AJ Burnett at around -175 over San Diego and Andrew Cashner, with a total of seven.
Also, MLB odds at TheGreek.com were chalking the Pirates at -240 to win this series, with the Padres getting +200.
Padres-Pirates Series Set-Up
Pittsburgh just took three of four games from the Cubs over the weekend, winning Sunday 3-2. The Pirates have won four of their last five series and six of their last seven games.
So Pittsburgh, at 87-62, is tied with St. Louis for the lead in the NL Central, 3.5 games clear of third-place Cincinnati. That also means the Bucs are tied for the lead in the NL wild-card race.
On the other side of this match-up San Diego just took two of three games from the NL East-leading Braves in Atlanta over the weekend, winning Sunday 4-0. The Padres have actually won three of their last four series and eight of their last 12 games.
But at 68-80 San Diego is once again playing out the string on a season.
In the only other meeting this season between these two teams the Pirates took two of three games from the Padres in San Diego last month. Two of those three games played UNDER on the totals.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
AJ Burnett (8-10, 3.45) is 13-for-27 on quality starts this season, but only two for his last seven. Last time out he got clipped for five runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Rangers, and over his last seven starts he's given up four ER or more five times.
On the season Burnett has allowed fewer hits, 150, than innings pitched, 169, and owns a 183/60 K/BB ratio.
But Pittsburgh, a team that's 25 games over .500, is only 12-15 in Burnett's starts this year.
In his one start this season against the Padres Burnett held them to one run and four hits through seven innings of an 8-1 Pirates victory Aug. 20.
Cashner (9-8, 3.40) is 13-for-24 on quality starts this year, and five for his last five. Last time out he held the Phillies to two runs through 7 2/3 innings, and over his last four starts he's allowed just seven ER through 35 2/3 innings.
For the season Cashner has allowed fewer hits, 146, than innings pitched, 159, and owns a 114/47 K/BB ratio.
San Diego, a team that's 12 games under .500, is 12-12 in Cashner's starts.
In his one start this year against Pittsburgh Cashner gave up three runs – one earned – and five hits in seven innings of a 3-1 Padres loss Aug. 19.
In the battle of the bullpens for this series the Pirates rank third with a 2.88 ERA and have converted 51 of 63 save opportunities, while San Diego ranks 11th with a 3.44 ERA and is 36-for-48 on save opps.
Padres-Pirates With the Sticks
San Diego ranks 23rd in team OBP at .308, 22nd in home runs with 134 and 27th in scoring at 3.8 runs per game.
Pittsburgh ranks 19th in OBP at .314, 19th in homers with 141 and 22nd in scoring at 3.9 RPG.
Padres-Pirates Betting Trends
San Diego is 27-47 on the road this season.
Pittsburgh is 48-26 at home this year.
The OVER/UNDERS have gone 29-42 in Pirates home games this season.
San Diego has won 16 of its last 19 games in Pittsburgh.
Our Take on Monday's Game
Burnett has struggled a bit as of late, but he's been very good at PNC Park this season, posting a 2.32 ERA in 12 starts. And San Diego is playing without at least three guys who would normally be in the starting lineup. So Pittsburgh seems an obvious choice. But Cashner, with his recent performance, concerns us, as does the price on this game. So instead of choosing a side for our free MLB pick for Monday we'll look toward the total, and go with the UNDER in this match-up of two rather pedestrian offenses.Pick: Take the UNDER seven runs at the -130 offered at Bovada.