MLB Picks for Pirates-Phillies 4-Game Series at Citizens Bank Park

Darin Zank

Monday, May 11, 2015 12:16 PM GMT

Philly snapped two streaks Wednesday night, its own four-game losing skid and Pittsburgh's four-game winning run. Can the Phillies salvage a split of this four-game series when the teams play the series finale Thursday afternoon?

 

14th MAY
Pirates vs. Phillies Game 4

By: Ron Patrick

 

 

Pirates-Phillies Game 4 Odds
As of early Thursday morning most of the  MLB betting odds were chalking Pittsburgh and Vance Worley at around -125 over Philly with Aaron Harang, with a total of eight runs.

 

Game 3 Recap
Philadelphia OF Jeff Francoeur threw out pinch-runner Steve Lombardozzi at home plate for the final out of the game, securing a 3-2 Phillies victory. The Phils won as +115 home dogs on Wednesday's betting line, and the game played UNDER its total of 6.5.

Pittsburgh scored twice in the top of the fifth to break a scoreless tie, but Philadelphia scored three times in the bottom of that frame to take a lead that would stand.

Philly starter Cole Hamels gave up two runs through seven innings, walking one while striking out nine, for his fifth quality start in eight tries this season.

Pirates starter Francisco Liriano allowed three runs through seven innings for his fifth quality outing in seven starts.

Pittsburgh is now 1-3 against left-handed starters this season.

Even with the victory Philadelphia has been held to three runs or less in five of its last six games.

 

Thursday's Starters
Harang is five-for-seven on quality starts for his new team this season. Last Saturday he held the Mets to two earned runs through seven innings, and just before that he held Atlanta to one run through six innings. For the season Harang has allowed 12 earned runs and 46 base-runners (hits + walks) through 45 1/3 innings; Philly, a team that's 11 games under .500 overall, is 4-3 in Harang's starts, with the totals tilting toward the UNDERS by a 4-1-2 margin.

Pitching for Atlanta last season Harang started twice against Pittsburgh, allowing four runs and 13 hits through 15 1/3 innings; his Braves split those two games, the loss coming by a score of 1-0.

Worley is just two-for-six on quality starts this season. Last Saturday he gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings against St. Louis, which was the third time this season he had given up at least four runs. On the season the former Phillie has allowed 18 ER and 54 base-runners in 35 innings; Pittsburgh is 3-3 in Worley's starts, with the totals going 2-4.

Worley has started once in his career against his former team, last September, giving up three runs in five innings of a 6-3 Pirates victory.

 

Thursday's Batting Splits
Pittsburgh ranks 25th in the Majors with a .300 team OBP against right-handed pitching this season, while Philadelphia ranks dead last with a .266 OBP vs. righties.

 

Game 4 Free Picks
Harang has been great so far this season, and owns the advantage in this pitching match-up. So by our eye the value on today's line resides with the Phillies. Also, both these lineups are struggling against right-handed pitching, so we're thinking UNDER for our MLB pick.

Free MLB Picks: Philadelphia +112 at Pinnacle and UNDER eight runs (-120) at GTBets.

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13th MAY
Pirates vs. Phillies Game 3

By: Ron Patrick

 

 

Pirates-Phillies Game 3 Betting Odds
As of early Wednesday morning most MLB books were listing Pittsburgh and Francisco Liriano at around -120 over Philly with Cole Hamels, with a total of seven runs.

The Pirates could also be gotten at upwards of +150 on the run line.

 

Game 2 Recap
Josh Harrison bopped a three-run homer in the top of the fourth inning Monday night, giving Pittsburgh and AJ Burnett a lead they never relinquished in a 7-2 victory. The Pirates won as -150 favorites on Tuesday's MLB betting odds board, and to our delight covered against the run line.

Unfortunately for us, Tuesday's game also played OVER its total of 8.5 runs when Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the seventh.

Burnett now owns a six-game quality-start streak, after holding Philly to one earned run through seven innings.

Phillies starter Sean O'Sullivan went five innings Tuesday night, and only gave up the three-run bomb to Harrison. So he may get another shot or two at keeping a spot in the Philly rotation.

 

Wednesday's Starters
Hamels is four-for-seven on quality starts this season. Eleven days ago he got nicked for six runs in six innings against Miami, but he bounced back last Friday to hold the Mets to one run through seven innings. For the season Hamels has allowed 18 earned runs and 43 base-runners through 44 innings; Philly is 3-5 in Hamels' starts, with the totals going 2-3-2.

Pittsburgh missed Hamels last season; two years ago the Pirates managed just three ER in two starts against Hamels, covering 15 innings; the teams split those two games.

Liriano is four-for-six on quality starts this year. Last Friday he gave up six runs – five earned – in 6 1/3 innings against St. Louis, but in his previous two starts he had allowed just one run total. On the season Liriano has allowed 12 ER and 36 base-runners – just 20 on hits, but 16 on walks – through 38 2/3 innings; Pittsburgh is just 1-5 in Liriano's starts, in part because of some poor run support, while the totals have gone 2-2-2.

Liriano's only career start against Philadelphia came last September, when he threw eight innings of four-hit, shutout ball, walking two while whiffing 12 in a 4-1 Pirates victory.

 

Wednesday's Batting Splits
Philly totally stinks against right-handed pitching, but it ranks eighth in OBP and .338, 18th in slugging percentage at .381 against left-handed pitching this season.

Pittsburgh ranks 28th in OBP at .262 and 22nd in slugging percentage at .368 against lefties this year.

 

Game 3 Free Picks
It's not always wise betting against Hamels, but the Pirates are hot, and we'll probably ride them through the rest of this series. And in thinking runs might be hard to come by tonight we'll go with the UNDER as our MLB pick.

Free MLB Picks: Pittsburgh -116 at Pinnacle & UNDER 6.5 runs (+100) at WagerWeb

 

12th MAY
Pirates vs. Phillies Game 2

By: Ron Patrick

 

 

Pirates-Phillies Game 2 Betting Odds
In the early betting most books were chalking Pittsburgh and AJ Burnett at around -160 over Philly and Sean O'Sullivan, with a total of eight runs.

 

Game 1 Recap
Pittsburgh took a 3-1 lead Monday night on Starling Marte's three-run homer in the top of the third inning, and on the strength of another quality start from Gerrit Cole held on from there for a 4-3 victory. The Pirates won as -165 favorites on Monday's MLB odds, but to our great chagrin missed covering on the run line when reliever Mark Melancon gave up Odubel Herrera's first career ML homer leading off the bottom of the ninth. That's twice this season Melancon has blown a bet for us.

Also, Monday's game stayed UNDER a total of 7.5.

Prior to hitting that home run Herrera had gone two for his last 23 at the plate, with 14 strikeouts. How can you let a guy like that hit a homer? On the night Cole allowed two runs and six hits through seven innings; he's now five-for-seven on quality starts this season.

Phillies starter Jerome Williams gave up three runs (on that one swing of the bat) and four hits through five innings; he's now two-for-seven on quality starts.

Pittsburgh has won four of its last five games, while Philly has lost 10 of its last 13.

 

Tuesday's Starters
O'Sullivan went one-for-two on quality starts a month ago, then did a stint on the DL with a sore knee. Back on April 12 he held Washington to two runs through six innings, while five days later he gave up four runs in five innings against those same Nationals. Philly lost both those games.

O'Sullivan then threw a good four innings in a recent rehab start down at Single-A Lakewood.

This will be O'Sullivan's first-ever start against Pittsburgh.

Burnett is five-for-six on quality starts this season, and five for his last five. Last Thursday he held Cincinnati to two runs through seven innings, and just before that he threw six scoreless innings against St. Louis. For the season Burnett has held opponents to seven runs on 45 base-runners (hits + walks) through 38 innings; Pittsburgh is only 2-4 in Burnett's starts, but that's not his fault by any means; three of those losses came by scores of 3-2, 2-0 and 2-1. Also, the totals have skewed toward the UNDERS in Burnett's starts by a 4-1-1 margin.

Burnett, who pitched for the Phillies last season, last faced them back in 2013, when he held them to two runs through five innings of a game his Pirates lost 3-2.

 

Game 2 Free Picks
We got screwed on a good play on the run line Monday night, but we'll jump back on the horse and play the Pirates on the run line again tonight, with hopes that Melancon gets nowhere near the mound. Also, in loving what Burnett is doing this season, combined with the Buccos' bats unfamiliarity with O'Sullivan, we're thinking UNDER for our MLB picks.

 

Free MLB Picks: Pittsburgh +110 on the run line at Heritage and UNDER eight runs (-105) at GTBets.

 

11th MAY
Monday's Series Opener

By: Ron Patrick

 

 

Pirates-Phillies Game 1 Betting Odds
As of early Monday morning MLB odds board were chalking visiting Pittsburgh and Gerrit Cole at around -175 over Philadelphia and Jerome Williams, with a total of 7.5 runs

Also, Bovada was listing the Pirates at -170 to win this series, based on the first three games, with the Phillies getting +140 as home dogs.

 

Series Set-Up
Pittsburgh just took two of three games from St. Louis over the weekend, losing the series opener Friday 8-5 but winning Saturday 7-5 and Sunday 4-3. But just prior to that the Pirates had lost five games in a row, before taking a series finale against Cincinnati last Thursday. So Pittsburgh has only won one of its last four series.

At 15-16 the Pirates are tied for third place in the NL Central, seven games behind those first-place Cardinals.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games at home to the Mets over the weekend, winning Friday 3-1 but losing Saturday 3-2 and Sunday 7-4. Just before that the Phillies lost two of three to Atlanta; just before that they lost two of three to Miami; and just before that they lost three of four to St. Louis. So Philly has lost four series in a row.

At 11-21 the Phillies are in last place in the NL East, 9.5 games behind first-place New York.

This is the first meeting this season between these Keystone State rivals; last year Pittsburgh took the season series from Philadelphia six games to one, with the totals going 4-3.

 

Monday's Starters
By our tough standards Williams is two-for-six on quality starts this year. Last Wednesday he got nicked for six runs in less than five innings by Atlanta, and just before that he gave up three runs in five innings against Miami. For the season Williams has allowed 19 earned runs and 53 base-runners (hits + walks) through 33 innings; Philly, somehow, is 3-3 in Williams' starts, with the totals going 3-2-1.

Williams has started against Pittsburgh once each of the last two seasons, giving up eight ER and 15 hits through 11 innings; his teams lost both those games.

Cole is four-for-six on quality starts this season. Last Wednesday he gave up three runs and eight hits in five innings in a loss to Cincinnati, but over his previous four starts he allowed just five runs, three earned. On the season Cole has allowed nine ER and 40 base-runners through 35 2/3 innings; Pittsburgh is 4-2 in Cole's starts, with the totals going 3-2-1.

In his two career starts against Philly Cole has given up three runs and nine hits over 10 1/3 innings; the Pirates split those two games, and both games played OVER.

 

The Pens
The Philadelphia bullpen ranks seventh in the Majors with a 2.94 ERA, with six saves in seven chances, but also owns a ML-worst 1.62 WHIP, in part because it's walked 58 batters in 98 innings of work.

The Pittsburgh pen ranks eighth in ERA at 2.97, with eight saves but five blown saves.

 

Monday's Batting Splits
Pittsburgh owns a .299 team OBP and a .354 team slugging percentage against right-handed pitching this season.

Philadelphia owns a ML-worst .265 OBP and a ML-low .317 slugging percentage against righties.

 

Totals Betting Trends
Phillies home games are 6-7-2 on the totals this season, as games played at CBP have averaged just 6.9 runs per.

 

Game 1 Free Pick
Cole owns the advantage in the starting pitching comparison, and the Phillies are terrible against right-handed pitching. So we like Pittsburgh as our MLB pick to take Monday's series opener. We also like taking chances, so we'll give the run and a half on the run line with the Pirates. Also, in thinking the limited scoring at CBP will continue we'll take the UNDER.

Free MLB Picks: Pittsburgh +100 on the run line at 5Dimes and UNDER 7.5 runs (-110) at GTBets.