Pirates to Shape up & Avoid Boston Brooms at Fenway

Pittsburgh Pirates

Willie Bee

Thursday, April 6, 2017 1:19 PM GMT

Thursday, Apr. 6, 2017 1:19 PM GMT

The first Thursday MLB betting card of the season is heavy with matinee games, including the finale of a 3-game series in Boston between the Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates.

**BREAKING NEWS**

Pirates vs Red Sox Game Has Been Postponed & will be re-schedule for tomorrow. SBR picks team will be updating this preview with a free MLB pick on the game shortly.

 

The reality that is the grind of a 162-game season will hit the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox later this morning when they arrive at Fenway Park for the finale of the season's first interleague set. The team's played late into Wednesday night before Boston won for a 2nd-straight time, and today's 1:35 PM (ET) first pitch is going to feel real early.

That is, if the first pitch comes at all. A 100% chance of rain fills the forecast in Boston starting early afternoon and going into the evening. Assuming the umpires can get this one in between the raindrops, the mound duel pits Chad Kuhl for the Pirates opposite Eduardo Rodriguez of the Red Sox. Boston is chalked on a moneyline around -160, BetOnline carrying an 8½ run total that is taxed a little heavier to the 'over.'

 

1st Time For Kuhl Vs. BoSox & Rodriguez Vs. Bucs

Called up in late-June last year, the Pirates won Kuhl's first six starts and went 9-5 behind the former Delaware star. A 9th-round pick in 2013, the righthander made a steady climb through the minors where he thrived with a high groundball-to-fly ball ratio and decent control. He closed an otherwise good spring with a rough outing vs. the Blue Jays, and will be facing the Red Sox for the first time in his career.

Rodriguez will be out to reverse his struggles at Fenway a year ago when the lefty went 0-4 (Boston 1-8) in nine assignments with an ERA above 6.00, and costing bettors about 9 units on MLB odds boards. The 23-year-old Venezuelan only managed to last 6+ innings in two of those outings, serving up 10 dingers with an unsightly 1.51 WHIP in Beantown. This will be just his third interleague start, splitting the previous two decisions against the Dodgers and Phillies the past couple of seasons.

 

Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

I still think of Chris Guccione as a young umpire and, at 42 years of age, he still fits the definition of 'young' to someone of my advanced years. But the Colorado native is entering his 18th full season, so he has plenty of big league experience, and has been a friend to 'under' bettors the past three of those (34-56-5 O/U/P), including a couple of playoff matchups last October. His last three plate assignments in Boston failed to reach the totals.

Pittsburgh saw fewer lefties than any other NL team a year ago, but when the Pirates did run up against a southpaw, they cracked on them to the tune of a 20-9 record. I personally don't think this one will be played, but if it does come off, like the Bucs to avoid being swept for my free baseball pick.

Free MLB Pick: Pirates +150 Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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