With Morton on the Hill, Bet Pirates over Nationals

Jeff Grant

Friday, May 23, 2014 12:08 PM GMT

Andrew McCutchen is tearing the cover off the baseball at PNC Park, which will lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to another victory over the Washington Nationals Friday night. Take a closer look at the MLB betting odds before making your pick.
Missing pieces 
Washington has scored just two runs in dropping its last two contests, as it continues to struggle offensively without the services of Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman.
 
Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth has been unable to carry the load over his last five games—going 2 for 22 at the plate over that span.  It’s important to point out to those making baseball picks that he’s hit two home runs in his career against tonight’s opposing starter.
 
MLB handicappers will find that Washington Nationals are 3-8 in its last 11 games versus NL Central opponents.
 
Capital punishment
Pittsburgh has won three of its last four games, including a 3-1 victory over Washington as -126 home favorites Thursday, while going 'under' the betting total in its last two contests.
 
Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen entered last night’s matchup hitting .441 with eight home runs and 14 RBIs in 16 career games against the Nationals at this ballpark.  The reigning NL MVP has homered twice in his career against Friday’s opposing starter.
 
The club is 6-2 in its last eight home games versus right-handed starters, with the 'over' going on a 8-3-1 run in that situation.
 

Zimmermann
Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (3-1, 3.70 ERA) has led the squad to victory in his last four trips to the mound, including a 6-3 home win over the New York Mets last time out, as he allowed three runs and eight hits over six frames.
 
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA in three road appearances—issuing two walks and striking out 18 batters in 19 combined innings.
 
Zimmerman allowed four runs and three homers in six innings of a 5-3 defeat in his only appearance against the Pirates on May 17, 2012.
 
 
Morton
Pirates starting pitcher Charlie Morton (0-6, 3.45 ERA) was handed a 4-3 road defeat by the New York Yankees in his last effort—surrendering four runs and six hits over six innings of work.
 
The right-hander is 0-8 with a 3.64 ERA in his last 15 outings dating back to last season,  including a 0-4 mark and 2.66 ERA in eight home games during that span.
 
In four lifetime appearances versus the Nationals, Morton has compiled a 1-2 record and 4.09 ERA.
 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Pirates as one of their MLB picks, as they’ve won their last four games versus NL East opponents with Morton on the hill.
 
Free MLB Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates -115

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