Pirates to Win Against Diamondbacks in Game 3

Doug Upstone

Saturday, August 2, 2014 4:50 PM GMT

Pittsburgh has pushed their way back into the NL Central race and plays in a series they should frankly win. But as those making MLB Picks have seen, Arizona is at least playing better. 

For those of us working the betting odds, the next two months can get a little squirrely with non-playoff bound teams making life miserable for those in the postseason hunt.

 

Pittsburgh Made up Ground Beating Poor Opponents
When opportunity knocks, it is best to answer the door and that is what the Pirates have done. Pittsburgh was below .500 looking like a shell of last year’s playoff team on June 1.

At that juncture, the MLB odds and schedule fell in their favor and over the past two months they have faced a plethora of bad baseball teams all below .500. Just because one is presented with a chance for success does not guarantee they take it, but the Pirates did.

Since June 2, the Bucs are 24-10 versus mediocre competition, for +12.3 units of profit. The offense is actually scoring more runs that last year’s team and the overall pitching numbers are improving slightly. Pittsburgh has picked up +30 in run differential in exactly two months and looks to continue improving this weekend in the desert.

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Arizona Season’s is Lost as Home Woes Continue
If there has been one constant in making sports picks following the Diamondbacks it is to bet against them at home. Arizona’s first two ‘official’ home games were in Australia and they lost both to the Los Angeles Dodgers, which set the wrong tone for the season.

As of today they are 22-34 for their home record and at Sportsbook Review standings page it shows them -15.29 units. It is never easy to understand why any team would play worse at home than on the road, but this has been a common theme we have seen this year.

The D-Backs offense is more than adequate at Chase Field; ranked 10th at 4.4 runs a contest, but their pitching leaves a lot to be desired in conceding 4.9 RPG, which is 27th overall. Plain and simple, the Snakes are play against material at home 60 percent of the time.

 

Pitching Matchup for Saturday
Go figure Vance Worley of the Pirates. After a brilliant 11-2 season with Philadelphia in 2011, he was 6-9 the following year and ended up being dealt to Minnesota, where he was a complete washout last year. Pittsburgh takes a flyer on him and signs Worley to a Triple-A contract. Out of necessity the Pirates bring him up and all he’s done is go 4-1 in eight starts, with a 2.54 ERA. The big improvement for Worley is confidence and command, last season striking out 25 and walking 15 in 48+ innings. This year he has 30 punch-outs in one more inning of work and has averaged just one free pass per start.

Chase Anderson (6-4, 3.34, 1.32) was lightly regarded after being demoted from starter to the bullpen at Triple-A for the D-Backs. But because of injury and ineffectiveness of Arizona’s opening day roster starters and the horrendous start, the Diamondbacks front office gave Anderson a shot and as MLB handicappers are aware, his team has won eight of his dozen starts for +5.3 units. His changeup sets up other pitches.

 

Bullpen View
Because both teams have for the most part had ineffective starting pitching, the bullpens have seen a lot work. Arizona is fourth in the NL in innings and Pittsburgh is fifth.

The Bucs weakness has been in allowing too many hits and a few too many walks which explains why they are 12th in on-base percentage allowed and being second for the most blown saves at 17.

Many of Arizona’s numbers are at least average in the senior circuit and they lead the league in strikeouts. Their downfall tends to be when they are bad, they are really bad and are hammered. Last night was a perfect example, surrendering eight runs in the final two innings to fall 9-4.

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Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
Thus is in 2014, Pittsburgh is 3-2 in the season series after last night’s come from behind victory. The Pirates are also 5-3 at Chase the past three years and the total is 5-3 to the OVER side.

Sportsbooks pushed the Bucs out at -125 and overnight they went up slightly to -130. The total took a tumble from 9 to 8.5 initially. It is at least worth noting manager Clint Hurdle’s team is 3-10 on the road when the total is 8.5 to 10 this season. 

 

The Winner Is….
Have to admit, this is not an easy choice with the starting pitching matchup fairly even and Arizona a lousy home team and Pittsburgh a below average road team (23-30). Thus, I’ll turn to the Pirates record versus teams below .500 as was mentioned previously and they find a way to win.

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