Rockies Will Slide Past Pirates on Monday in Series Lid-lifter

Sunday, August 5, 2018 6:40 PM UTC

Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018 6:40 PM UTC

As we start the first full week of August, there are at least seven teams still in the National League wild-card hunt. Two of them will open a series Monday night at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Doug Upstone's MLB Record at SBR: 8-7, -1.5 units

Pittsburgh at ColoradoMonday, 8:40 p.m. ET (MLBN)Free MLB Pick: Rockies MLBest Line Offered: Bovada

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After winning 11 in a row, Pittsburgh has leveled and had a mildly disappointing homestand. The Pirates now hit the road for a nine-game road trip starting in Coors Field, with the Bucs 26-24 (+1.7 units) away from the Steel City.

The Rockies return home from an ugly road trip, in which they took a lead at least into the eighth inning and ended up losing the game three times. Colorado will look to turn this around at home where they are 27-24 (-5.3).

The early MLB odds have Colorado as a home favorite (-142). When the Rocks have been favored this season anywhere, they are merely 33-29 (-5.6).

Slight Nod To Colorado In Pitching Matchup

The announced starting pitchers for Monday are Joe Musgrove (4-5, 3.63 ERA) for the Pirates and Kyle Freeland (9-7, 3.20) for the Rockies.

Musgrove came over from Houston in the Gerrit Cole trade and despite his 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame, he's a ground-ball pitcher, not a flamethrower. Musgrove has 54 punch-outs in 67 innings of work and Pittsburgh is 5-2 when he has more ground-ball outs than fly-ball outs, compared to 1-3 when the numbers are reserved.

Like his mound counterpart, Freeland is 25 and the left-hander has really come into own in 2018. Freeland is one of those rare Rockies hurlers who has a lower ERA at home compared to on the road (2.75 vs. 3.74). He also dominated hitters in the left side of the batter's box, holding them to a .209 average and has surrendered only six extra-base hits, facing 115 batters.

Both bullpens are below average. The Rockies have the second-most blown saves in the NL.

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No #SundayScaries just a #SundaySweep. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

See you at home Tuesday! ๐Ÿก pic.twitter.com/2557LR9uRi

โ€” Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 6, 2018
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What Team Swings The Lumber Better?

As of Sunday morning, the Colorado bats are like a Coors Light, rather chilly in averaging 3.6 RPG in their last seven outings. Like always, the Rockies are better at home in averaging 5.3 RPG. However, if Nolan Arenado, Charley Blackmon, Trevor Story and Geraldo Parra are not hitting at the same time, manager Bud Black's lineup lacks balance.

After Pittsburgh's scintillating stretch, the team has reverted back to norms of scoring 4.5 RPG. The Pirates are similar to the Rockies, relying on a few players to carry the load and keep their fingers crossed others can contribute. This season Starling Marte, Corey Dickerson and David Freeze have done the heavy lifting, with Gregory Polanco showing more signs of power while lifting his batting average of late.

Let's Declare The Winner

Colorado won the series in Pittsburgh in April and I like them to start a win in this series for MLB picks. The Pirates has dropped 22 of 28 games against lefty starters on the road. The Rockies have won 12 of 14 at Coors when facing winning teams, and are 13-3 at home after being on the road for at least a week.

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