Pirates vs. Dodgers Game 4
By: Ron Patrick
As of early Sunday AM Los Angeles and Zack Greinke were favored by around -175 over Pittsburgh and Edinson Volquez, with a total of seven runs. The Dodgers could also be found at upwards of +130 on the run line.
Hanley Ramirez went four-for-four with two homers and five RBI in leading LA to a 12-2 win Saturday. The Dodgers scored four runs in the third inning and five in the fourth, allowing starter Hyun-Jin Ryu to relax and scatter 10 hits through six innings, earning his sixth victory of the season.
The Dodgers won as -145 chalk Saturday, and covered on the run line at a price of +160.
Greinke (8-1, 2.18) is seven-for-11 on quality starts this season, and three for his last four. Last time out he gave up three runs in 7 2/3 innings against the Reds, whiffing 11, and over his last four outings he's allowed six ER through 27 2/3 innings.
For the season Greinke has given up 60 hits in 66 innings, walked 14 and struck out 76. LA is 8-3 in Greinke's starts, with the totals going 7-4, thanks mainly to some good run support.
Greinke started twice against Pittsburgh last year, giving up five runs through 11 1/3 innings; the Dodgers split those two games.
Volquez (2-4, 4.30) is four-for-10 on quality starts this year, but only one for his last six. Most recently he gave up two runs in five innings against the Mets, and just before that he held Washington to one run through six innings. But in his four starts previous to that he had been tagged for 20 runs in 21 2/3 innings.
For the season Volquez has allowed fewer hits, 52, than innings pitched, 60 2/3, although 10 of those hits have gone over the fence. And his K/BB ratio is weak, at 38/20.
Pittsburgh is 4-6 in Volquez' starts, but the totals have leaned toward the 'unders' by a 7-2 margin.
Volquez, pitching for San Diego, started once against LA last year, giving up five runs – two earned – in 5 2/3 innings of a 6-1 Padres defeat.
Free MLB Pick for Sunday
We won Saturday's free MLB pick by taking the Dodgers on the run line, so we'll stick with that strategy for today, getting +131 at Pinnacle.
Pirates vs. Dodgers Game 3
By: Ron Patrick
In the early betting LA and Hyun-Jin Ryu were favored by around -155 over Pittsburgh and Brandon Cumpton, with a total of seven, but many books quickly dropped the Dodgers about a dime, to the -145 range.
The Pirates grabbed an early 2-0 lead Friday night, and Francisco Liriano and four relievers made that stand up. Pittsburgh won as a +100 dog on Friday's MLB betting line, and the game, to our delight, stayed 'under' its total of seven runs.
Jason Grilli, re-inserted as the Pirates closer, has registered saves in both games in this series.
LA has scored a total of six runs over its last three games.
Ryu (5-2, 3.10) is six-for-nine on quality starts this season, and two for his last two. Last time out he threw seven perfect innings against Cincinnati, before running out of gas in the eighth. And just before that he held the Mets to two runs through six innings.
For the season Ryu has allowed 49 hits in 52 1/3 innings, walked 12 and whiffed 47. LA is 5-4 in Ryu's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' by a 4-3 margin.
In his one career start against the Pirates, back in April of last season, Ryu gave up two runs and three hits through 6 1/3 innings of a 6-2 Los Angeles victory.
Cumpton (0-1, 3.38), a righty, is back in the Majors, slated to make his fourth start of this season. Most recently he threw six innings against the Mets on Monday, allowing just one ER in a 5-3 Pittsburgh victory.
On the season in three ML starts Cumpton has allowed 18 hits in 18 2/3 innings, walked two and struck out 10. The Pirates are 1-2 in Cumpton's starts, with the totals going 2-1.
Down at Triple-A Indianapolis this spring Cumpton went 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA.
In his one career start against the Dodgers back in June of last season, Cumpton gave up three runs in five innings of a 5-3 Pirates loss.
Free MLB Pick for Saturday
We've had good luck with Ryu, and the Dodgers are a better lineup against right-handed pitching. And since we like to take chances we'll go with LA on the run line, getting +160 at 5Dimes, for Saturday's free MLB pick.
Pirates vs. Dodgers Game 2
By: Ron Patrick
Pittsburgh bucked its trend as the worst road team in baseball by taking Game 1 of this series Thursday night 6-3. Does that mean we should go with the Pirates for our free pick on Friday's contest (10:10 pm ET)? Or do we take the Dodgers to bounce back?
Most MLB betting shops we sampled opened LA and Josh Beckett at around -140 over Pittsburgh and Francisco Liriano, with a total of seven runs, but many shops dropped the Dodgers about a dime, to the -130 range, in the early betting action.
Pittsburgh broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the seventh inning Thursday night, which helped the Pirates snap a nine-game losing streak at Dodger Stadium.
Pittsburgh won as a +105 dog Thursday, and the game played OVER its total of seven runs.
Josh Beckett (3-1, 2.43) will make his first start since throwing the first no-hitter of this ML season, against the Phillies last Sunday. On the season Beckett is four-for-nine on quality starts, but three for his last four, giving up five ER over his last 27 innings.
So far in 2014 Beckett has allowed just 37 hits in 55 2/3 innings, walked 20 and struck out 52. The Dodgers are 4-5 in Beckett's starts, with the totals leaning toward the OVERS by a 5-4 margin.
This will be Beckett's first start against Pittsburgh since 2004.
Liriano (0-5, 5.06) is just three-for-11 on quality starts, and just one for his last seven. Last time out he gave up four runs in five innings against Washington, and over his last five starts he's given up 18 ER in 24 2/3 innings.
For the season Liriano has allowed 60 hits in 58 2/3 innings, walked 28, which is a bit too many, and struck out 58. Liriano may be win-less on his own, but Pittsburgh is 6-5 in his starts, with the totals leaning toward the UNDERS 5-4.
This will be Liriano's first start against the Dodgers since 2006.
Free Pick for Friday
Liriano may be struggling, but LA has struggled against left-handers this year. Meanwhile, Beckett is going pretty good at the moment. So while we're not sure who's going to win tonight's game, we'll go with the UNDER seven runs, at the -104 offered at Pinnacle, for Friday's free MLB pick.
Pirates vs. Dodgers Game 1
By: Ron Patrick
In the early betting LA and Dan Haren were favored by around -115 over Pittsburgh and Gerrit Cole, with a total of seven runs. The Dodgers could also be played at upwards of +190 giving the run and a half on the run line.
LA just took two of three games at home against Cincinnati, missing out on the sweep by losing Wednesday 3-2. So the Blue Crew has won three series in a row and six of its last nine games.
At 29-25 the Dodgers are in second place in the NL West, 5.5 games behind the division-leading Giants.
On the underdog side of this match-up Pittsburgh just dropped two of three games in New York against the Mets, losing Wednesday's series finale 5-0. But just before that the Pirates had taken three of four from Washington.
At 23-29 the Pirates are in fourth place in the NL Central, eight games behind the first-place Brewers.
This is the first meeting this season between these two teams. Last year LA took four of six games from Pittsburgh, with the totals splitting 3-3.
Haren (5-3, 3.16), by our tough standards, is five-for-10 on quality starts this season. Most recently he allowed five runs – two earned – in six innings against Philadelphia, and over his last three starts he's allowed nine ER in 19 innings.
On the season Haren has given up 67 hits in 62 2/3 innings, walked just 11 and struck out 48. LA is 6-4 in Haren's starts, with the totals splitting 5-5.
Last year, pitching for Washington, Haren started once against the Pirates, giving up five runs in five innings of a 6-5 Nats loss.
Cole (4-3, 3.76) is also five-for-10 on quality starts. Last time out he gave up two runs in six innings against the Nationals, and over his last three starts he's given up eight ER in 17 2/3 innings.
For the season Cole has allowed 65 hits in 64 2/3 innings, walked 21 and whiffed 60. Pittsburgh is 6-4 in Cole's starts, with the totals going 4-4.
Cole, a Southern California native, started once last year against Los Angeles, giving up three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 6-3 Pirates victory.
In the battle of the bullpens for this series Pittsburgh ranks sixth with a 2.93 ERA but has blown 11 of 26 save opportunities, while Los Angeles ranks 22nd in ERA at 4.03 but is 17-for-22 on save chances.
LA ranks 10th in OBP at .324, 11th in scoring at 4.3 RPG, ninth in home runs with 55 and first in stolen bases with 59. And that OBP jumps to .336 against right-handed pitching.
LA is just 11-14 at home this season, but Pittsburgh is only 7-16 on the road.
The Dodgers have beaten the Pirates nine straight times at Chavez Ravine.
The totals have trended toward the OVERS in Dodgers home games this year by a 16-7 margin.
LA is suddenly a bit banged up, having placed IF Juan Uribe, C AJ Ellis and OF Carl Crawford all on the DL in the past week and a half.
Free Pick for
We'll call the pitching match-up a wash, but LA owns the advantage with the bats. So we'll go with the Dodgers, at the -108 offered at Pinnacle, for our free MLB pick on Thursday's series opener.