By: Ron Patrick
San Francisco got on the board in this series with a 6-3 victory Saturday, plating four runs in the first inning off Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano and getting 3 2/3 shut-out innings from the bullpen.
The Giants won as +130 home dogs on Saturday's MLB betting odds board, and the game played OVER its total of 6.5.
The Pirates are now tied for first place in the NL Central with St. Louis.
So San Fran has a chance to earn a split of this four-game series when the teams meet for Game 4 Sunday afternoon (4:05 pm ET).
Sunday's Betting Line
As of Sunday AM most baseball shops were listing Pittsburgh and AJ Burnett at around -140 over San Francisco and Ryan Vogelsong, with a total of 7.5. The Pirates could also be gotten at around +120 on the run line.
Sunday's Pitching Match-Up
Vogelsong (2-4, 6.29) is just 3-for-12 on quality starts this year, but 2-for-3 since coming off the DL a couple weeks ago. Last time out Vogelsong held Boston to two runs through seven innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed seven ER in 16 2/3 innings.
On the season Vogelsong has given up 80 hits in 63 innings, walked 25 and struck out 52.
The Giants are 6-6 in Vogelsong's starts this year.
This will be Vogelsong's first start against Pittsburgh this year; last year, in two starts against the Bucs, Vogelsong gave up five runs in 13 1/3 innings; San Francisco lost both those games.
Burnett (6-8, 3.09) is 12-for-23 on quality starts this season, and coming off a good one, in which he held San Diego to one run through seven innings Tuesday. But in his two starts previous to that he gave up 10 ER in 10 innings vs. the Rockies and Cardinals. Over his last 10 starts, though, he's allowed two or fewer earned runs eight times.
For the season Burnett has given up 126 hits in 145 2/3 innings, walked 53 and struck out 160.
But Pittsburgh, for whatever reason, is just 10-13 in Burnett's starts this year.
This will be Burnett's first start against San Francisco since July of last year, when he gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 13-2 Pirates victory.
Our Take on Sunday's Game
For what it's worth, Vogelsong has been good since coming off the DL, and the Giants are getting a home-dog price. So, we'll go with San Francisco for our free MLB pick for Sunday.
By: Ron Patrick
Pittsburgh took Game 2 of this series Friday night 3-1, beating Giants ace Madison Bumgarner as +125 underdogs. San Francisco led 1-0 going into the seventh inning, but Clint Barmes lost a Bumsie slider in the left-field seats for a three-run dinger, giving Charlie Morton and two relievers all they needed to secure another Bucs victory.
The Pirates are now 4-1 on their current seven-game road trip, and remain a game ahead of second-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
The Giants are now 1-4 on their current home-stand.
Pittsburgh is also now just one game behind Atlanta in the battle for the best record in the National League.
San Francisco, on the other hand, after winning the World Series last Fall, is now 16 games under .500 and 16.5 games away from the nearest NL playoff spot.
Former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum goes for the Giants against the resurgent Francisco Liriano for the Pirates in Game 3 of this series Saturday evening (9:05 pm ET).
Saturday's Betting Line
As of Saturday morning most sportsbooks were listing Pittsburgh and Liriano at around -130 over San Francisco and Lincecum, with a total of 6.5.
The Pirates could also be bet at around +130 on the run line at various shops.
Saturday's Pitching Match-Up
Lincecum (6-13, 4.53) is 11-for-25 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last two. Most recently he got nicked for five runs and nine hits by Boston, and just before that he gave up six runs in six innings against Washington.
Before that Lincecum had reeled off three straight quality starts, and it was just five weeks ago he threw that no-hitter against San Diego. But overall Lincecum has done the Jekyll-and-Hyde thing this year; 14 times he's allowed three ER or fewer, but eight times he's allowed at five ER and more.
For the season Lincecum has given up 143 hits in 153 innings, walked 59 and struck out 157.
San Francisco won six of Lincecum's first eight starts this year, but since then they've lost 14 of his last 17 outings.
In his one start earlier this season against Pittsburgh Lincecum gave up four runs – two earned – and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of an 8-2 Giants loss back on June 11.
Liriano (14-5, 2.53) is 13-for-19 on quality starts this year, and five for his last six. Last time out Liriano threw a dandy, holding San Diego scoreless on four hits through seven innings, walking two and striking out 13 in a 3-1 Pittsburgh victory Tuesday night. And just before that he threw a complete-game against St. Louis, allowing one run and four hits in a 5-1 Pirates win 10 days ago.
Other than that bombing he suffered in Colorado a couple weeks ago Liriano has been great this year, giving Pittsburgh a chance to win almost every time out.
On the season Liriano has allowed 96 hits in 121 innings, walked 47 and struck out 126.
The Pirates are 14-5 in Liriano's starts this year.
Liriano has started once earlier this season against San Francisco, giving up four runs and eight hits in six innings, striking out just two, in a game Pittsburgh eventually won 12-8 back in June.
Our Take on Saturday's Game
Liriano has been consistently solid this year, while with Lincecum, you never quite know what you're going to get. Pittsburgh seems to be back on a roll, while San Francisco just can't get anything going. Finally, the Pirates are 23 games above .500 vs. right-handed pitching this year, while the Giants are 10 games under .500 against lefties. So, we'll go with Pittsburgh for our free MLB pick for Saturday.
Pick: Take the Pirates at the -127 offered at HeritageSports.
By: Ron Patrick
Pittsburgh took the opener of this series Thursday night, banging out 13 hits and knocking San Francisco starter Matt Cain out of the game in the fourth inning in a 10-5 victory.
The Pirates grabbed an early 3-0 lead Thursday, before allowing the Giants to tie the score at 3-3. Pittsburgh's Gaby Sanchez then caught Cain on the elbow with a line drive in the top of the fourth, forcing him from the game. The Pirates then put up a seven-spot off a pair of San Francisco relievers in the top of the fifth.
Pittsburgh won Thursday as +115 dogs on the MLB betting line, and to our dismay the game flew OVER its total of seven.
The Pirates will shoot for their fourth victory on their current seven-game road trip when the teams meet for Game 2 of this series Friday night (10:15 pm ET).
Friday's Betting Line
As of Friday morning most books were listing San Francisco and Madison Bumgarner at around -145 over Pittsburgh and Charlie Morton, with a total of 6.5.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Bumgarner (11-7, 2.82) is 17-for-25 on quality starts this season, and recently fashioned a string of 10 in a row. Last time out he allowed four runs – three earned – in five innings against Miami, and just before that he held Washington to one run through four rain-shortened innings.
The last time Bumgarner gave up more than three ER in a game came 14 starts ago, when the Cardinals got him for five runs back on June 1.
On the season Bumsie has allowed just 116 hits in 163 innings, walked 50 and whiffed 157.
San Francisco, a team that's 15 games under .500 this season, is 13-12 in Bumgarner's starts.
This will be Bumgarner's first start against Pittsburgh since 2011.
Morton (4-3, 3.67) is only 4-for-12 on quality starts this year, but three for his last three. Last time out he held Arizona to two runs through seven innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed six ER through 20 innings.
On the season Morton has given up 74 hits in 68 2/3 innings, walked 17 and struck out 52.
Pittsburgh is 7-5 in Morton's starts this year.
Morton started once earlier this year against San Francisco, giving up four runs – two earned – and seven hits in five innings of that 10-0 Pirates loss at PNC Park back in June.
Our Take on Friday's Game
Sorry to say, but we've had a tough time lately getting on the right side of Pirates games. Pittsburgh had struggled recently, losing three series in a row, then took two of three games in San Diego. The Pirates offense doesn't exactly impress us, but they then put up 10 runs Thursday night. To be honest, we just don't have a good read on this team at the moment. But what can we do, but forge ahead? For Friday one item sticks out at us; while Pittsburgh is 23 games above .500 this year against right-handed starters, it's just 12-12 against lefties. And Bumgarner is a pretty good lefty. So we'll go with San Francisco for our free MLB pickfor Friday.
By: Ron Patrick
The NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates continue their West Coast road trip with a stop in San Francisco for four games with the defending World Series champion Giants, starting Thursday night (10:15 pm ET). Let's have a look at today's match-up and betting odds.
Pittsburgh is trying to ice down its first playoff appearance in 20 years; San Francisco is playing out the end of a very disappointing season, and looks like it will miss the playoffs.
Pirates-Giants Betting Lines
In the early betting on Thursday's game most books were chalking San Francisco and Matt Cain at around -120 over Pittsburgh and Jeff Locke, with a total of seven.
Pirates-Giants Series Set-Up
San Francisco just dropped two of three games at home to Boston, losing Wednesday's rubber match 12-1. The Giants have won just one of their last six series.
San Fran, at 56-70, now sits in last place in the NL West, 18 games behind the division-leading Dodgers.
Pittsburgh just took two of three games in San Diego, missing out on the sweep by losing 2-1 Wednesday. Still, the Pirates are only 4-8 over their last 12 games.
So, Pittsburgh, at 74-52, leads the NL Central by one game over second-place St. Louis. The Pirates are also tied with the Dodgers for the second-best record in the National League, three games behind Atlanta.
In the only previous meeting this season between these two teams Pittsburgh took two of three games at home from the Giants back in June. Also, all three of those games played OVER on the totals, as the teams combined to score 40 runs.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Cain (8-8, 4.35), by our tough standards, is 14-for-25 on quality starts this season, and working on a string of five in a row. Most recently he held Miami to two runs through seven innings, and over his last five starts he's allowed nine ER and 25 hits in 36 innings.
On the season Cain has given up 124 hits in 153 innings, walked 47 and struck out 137.
San Francisco is 11-14 in Cain's starts this year.
In his one start earlier this season against Pittsburgh Cain threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 10-0 Giants win back on June 13.
Lefty Locke (9-4, 2.90) is 11-for-24 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last four. Last time out he got bombed by Arizona for eight runs and 10 hits in less than three innings, and over his last four starts he's allowed 16 ER and 32 hits in 18 innings.
On the season Locke has given up 117 hits in 139 2/3 innings, walked 68, which is too many, and struck out 103.
Pittsburgh is 13-11 in Locke's starts this season.
This will be Locke's first-ever start against San Francisco.
In the bullpen comparison for this series the Pirates rank third in the Majors with a 2.80 ERA and are 42-for-53 on save opportunities, while the Giants rank 11th with a 3.48 ERA and are 31-for-41 on save opps.
Pirates-Giants With the Sticks
Pittsburgh ranks 19th in the Majors with a team OBP of .312, 18th in homers with 119, 11th in stolen bases with 85 and 23rd in scoring at 3.9 RPG.
San Francisco ranks 16th in OBP at .316, 29th in homers with 76, 23rd in stolen bases with 52 and 27th in scoring at 3.8 RPG.
Pirates-Giants Betting Trends
Pittsburgh is a Major League-best 62-40 vs. right-handed starting pitchers this season.
San Francisco is 16-25 against lefties this year.
The OVER/UNDERS have gone 61-59 in games played at AT&T Park this season.
Pirates-Giants Injury Update
Pittsburgh is playing without closer Jason Grilli, who's on the DL with a sore arm. Mark Melancon has since filled in and gone 6-for-7 on save opportunities.
San Francisco 3B Pablo Sandoval has missed recent action with a sore back, but it sounds like he'll be in the lineup Thursday night.
Our Take on Thursday's Game
Locke's numbers on the season are better than Cain's, but Cain has been better than Locke lately. So the pitching match-up is about a wash. Also, both teams rank near the bottom in scoring, but both bullpens are pretty good. To be honest, we don't know who's going to win this game. So for our free MLB pick for today we'll instead look toward the total, and go with the UNDER.
Pick: Take the UNDER seven runs at the -120 offered at SBR Sportsbook.