Pirates vs. Phillies Pitching Matchup Makes 'Under' the Pick

Jeff Grant

Thursday, September 11, 2014 1:07 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 1:07 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been limited offensively while having Francisco Liriano on the mound, which will lead to a low-scoring affair against the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday. Find our why we are adding th e'Under' to tonight's MLB picks.

A Lot to Play For
Pittsburgh occupies the second National League Wild Card spot as it enters this series finale, while it has put together a 5-4 record on its current 10-game road trip, which includes a 6-3 victory over Philadelphia as -144 road favorites Wednesday.

The Pirates have captured five of their six meetings against the Phillies in 2014, which can’t be ignored when making your MLB picks, but they’ve also been involved in a league-high 56 one-run games.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the club is 15-13 as favorites of -125 to -150 when playing away from PNC Park, with the OVER going 16-12 in that situation.

 

Some Positive Trends
Philadelphia has gone 15-8 in its last 23 games at Citizens Bank Park, which is important to consider when looking over the MLB odds, while it has compiled a 22-12 all-time record at the venue in this particular series.

The Phillies are dangerous home underdogs due to their bullpen posting a league-best 1.99 ERA in 32 games since Aug. 5, while that group has limited opponents to a .220 batting average over its last 10 affairs.

It’s important to point out that the franchise has put together a 33-29 record in September since 2012.

 

Liriano
Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (4-10, 3.74 ERA) snapped a personal three-game losing streak last time out, as he allowed just three hits in six scoreless innings of a 5-0 road victory over the Chicago Cubs.

The left-hander has received an average of 2.56 runs of support when he has been on the mound this year, which has played a big part in the UNDER going 11-1 in his last 11 road efforts.

Liriano will be facing the Phillies for the first time in his career, as he looks to improve upon his 3-3 record and 2.51 ERA since the All-Star break.

 

Burnett
Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (8-15, 4.29 ERA) has alternated wins and losses over his last four trips to the mound, as he comes off a 3-1 road victory over the Washington Nationals—giving up a single run and six hits over seven frames.

The right-hander is 4-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 14 home outings, with opposing hitters batting .228 against him (.280 on the road).

Burnett has never lost 16 games in a season, as he prepares to take on his former teammates, as he made the Steel City his home in 2012-13.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their sports picks, as the UNDER is 5-2-1 in Burnett’s last eight home starts with a number of 7 to 8.5.

MLB handicappers also need to be aware that the UNDER is 15-7-1 in umpire Ed Hickox’ 23 home plate assignments in 2014.

MLB Pick:  Under 7.5 at 5Dimes

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