The young Pirates have been in a freefall as they try and hang on in the wild card race and starter Erik Bedard is tied for the Major League lead in losses. Take Mark Rogers and the Brewers to keep Pittsburgh slumping on Sunday.
Look for a young team that is not accustomed to being in a playoff race this late in the year to continue its slide on Sunday when Mark Rogers and the Milwaukee Brewers (58-67 overall, 20-39 away) take on Erik Bedard and the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates (68-58 overall, 38-24 home) as the teams wrap up a weekend three-game series from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 1:35 ET.MLB Pick
The posted money line at Bodog has Milwaukee as a small road underdog for this contest at current odds of +110.
The Pirates were a great Cinderella story for most of this season as the perennial losers were in the thick of the National League Central Division race, and they still deserve loads of credit for being 10 games over .500 at this last stage of the year. However, when Pittsburgh snapped a four-game losing streak 4-0 yesterday, it marked just its fifth win in the last 16 games and the Bucs are now in third place, eight games behind the first place Cincinnati Reds.
With that said, the Pirates are still very much in the wild card race, trailing the St. Louis Cardinals by just one game for the second wild card spot. The problem though is that they are fourth on the wild card standings behind the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Bucs are playing worse lately than the three teams in front of them.
In fact, they are even struggling at home now, where they were almost unbeatable earlier in the year. Their 38-24 home mark was mostly accomplished during that blistering start as Pittsburgh is only 6-10 in its last 16 games in its own ballpark. We do not like their prospects of posting a second straight win on Sunday either with Bedard on the bump.
Bedard is tied for the Major League lead in losses with his nondescript 7-13 record, and his 4.76 ERA and 1.46 WHIP do not exactly inspire confidence. He had a rare great start vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks three outings ago, but Bedard followed that up by allowing five runs in each of his last two starts, including doing so while allowing nine hits in only 4.2 innings vs. the Cardinals in his last start last Saturday.
Furthermore, Bedard was not good in his only start vs. the Brewers in Milwaukee back in June, allowing five earned runs on five hits plus three walks while lasting only 3.2 innings of a 5-1 defeat.
Now the Brewers are in fourth place in the Central, 17½ games behind the Reds and 9½ games behind the Pirates, but Milwaukee had won four straight games before yesterday’s loss, sweeping a three-game series vs. the Chicago Cubs before taking the series opener here 6-5 on Friday.
Yes, the Brewers have not been beating much, but the Pittsburgh offense they are facing here is not much either, and the Pirates’ worst split this season has been vs. right-handed pitchers at home, as they are batting only .232 against them here in this stadium.
That should make things easier for Rogers, who is probably feeling good about himself after earning his first Major League win vs. the Cubs on Monday. Rogers is 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA, but he has only started five games at the big league level this year and he allowed three runs or less in three of them.
Add in the fact that this will be Rogers’ first start ever vs. a struggling lineup and Milwaukee gets the call to stick another dagger in the Pirates’ playoff hopes on Sunday.
: Brewers +110