Pittsburgh has already clinched a series victory in Detroit; the Pirates now shoot for the sweep Thursday afternoon. Do we bet the Buccos to break out the brooms today? Or take the Tigers to avoid such a fate?
Pirates-Tigers Thursday Betting Odds
In the early betting the best price we could find on Pittsburgh and Francisco Liriano was the -122 offered at Pinnacle, while Detroit and fellow lefty Kyle Ryan were getting +118 at SportsBetting. Also, most books were listing the total on today's game at eight runs, although there were a few 8.5's out there.
Pittsburgh has taken the first two games of this series, by scores of 5-4 in 14 innings Tuesday night and 9-3 Wednesday. So the Pirates have won four of their last five games, while Detroit has lost four of its last six contests.
At 39-38 the Tigers sit six games behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central, and a game and a half back in the battle for the second American League wild-card slot.
At 44-33 Pittsburgh trails first-place St. Louis by seven games in the NL Central, but leads the National League wild-card race by 2.5 games over the Cubs.
The Pirates have taken three of five games from Detroit this season.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Ryan (1-1, 4.56) is one-for-three on quality starts this season, to go along with three relief appearances. Through his first three appearances this season he allowed just three earned runs through 13 innings; but over his last three appearances, most recently a poor relief effort eight days ago against Cleveland, he's been tagged for nine runs through 10 2/3 innings. For the season Ryan has allowed 24 hits, including four homers, through 23 2/3 innings; Detroit is 1-2 in Ryan's starts, with the UNDERS going 2-1.
This will be Ryan's first-ever start against Pittsburgh, which could give him an advantage, at least for the first couple of times through the lineup.
Liriano (4-6, 3.21) is 11/15 on quality starts this year, and six for his last seven. Last Friday he held Atlanta to two runs through seven innings, and over his last seven starts he's allowed 12 runs through 47 2/3 innings. On the season Liriano has held opponents to just 65 hits through 95 innings, with 31 walks and 108 strikeouts; somehow, the Pirates are just 5-10 in Liriano's starts, with the totals splitting 6-6.
Liriano has started twice against the Tigers since the beginning of last season, holding one of the best lineups in baseball to three runs and seven hits through 12 innings, with 16 strikeouts; Pittsburgh somehow managed to lose both those games, and both games played UNDER.
Thursday's Batting Splits
Detroit ranks second in the Majors this season against left-handed pitching with a healthy .352 team on-base percentage, while Pittsburgh ranks 23rd against lefties with a .304 OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Comerica Park this season are 20-19 on the OVERS, averaging 8.8 runs per.
Thursday's Free MLB Picks
Liriano owns the advantage in the pitching match-up, but Detroit owns the edge with the sticks. Still, we like Pittsburgh to complete the sweep today. Also, both teams have been trending OVER recently.
MLB Picks: Pirates -122 at Pinnacle and OVER 8.5 runs (+100) at Heritage