The Diamondbacks and Pirates have split the first two games of their series and the third game looks like it should be a pitching duel with Arizona's Ian Kennedy and Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia both in fine form. Go ‘under’ on Wednesday.
Expect runs to be hard to come by on Wednesday night in a matchup of two hot pitchers when Ian Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks (56-54 overall, 26-30 away) take on Kevin Correia and the Pittsburgh Pirates (62-47 overall, 34-17 home) as the teams play the third game of a four-game series from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 7:05 ET.MLB Pick
The posted total at Bodog is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.
Both of these teams are involved in fairly tight divisional races right now, and the clubs have split the first two games of this series. The Pirates have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball as they are in second place on the National League Central despite a weak offense, sitting only 3½ games behind the Cincinnati Reds. The Diamondbacks are in third place in the National League West, but only four games behind the San Francisco Giants.
The first two games of this series could not have gone more differently, as the Pirates won the series opener in a pitching duel 4-0 while the Diamondback won the second game last night in a high scoring 10-4 affair. We expect tonight’s contest to more closely resemble the opener given the pitchers that are on the mound.
Kennedy burst on to the scene for Arizona last year while going an unbelievable 21-4 wit a 2.88 ERA and getting some Cy Young Award votes. Not many expected him to match those numbers this year and he is indeed just 10-8 with a 4.15 RA overall. However, we are starting to see the Kennedy of 2011 as of late.
Kennedy tweaked his rotation a little while ago in an effort to, as he put it, “stay on top of the ball better”, and it is hard to argue with the results as Kennedy has reeled off four consecutive Quality Starts while allowing two runs or less in three of them. His latest effort came vs. the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday where he got the win while allowing only two runs on seven hits in six innings.
Kennedy has pitched well vs. the Pirates the three times he has faced them since entering the National League two years ago, going 1-0 while posting a fine 2.25 ERA and a microscopic 0.80 WHIP and holding Pittsburgh batters to only a .192 average. He is facing a Pirates’ lineup that ranks only 11th in the National League and 21st in the Major Leagues with a .247 batting average.
With an average like that, it is obvious that the Pirates have been winning with pitching this year and Correia has become a bigger part of that lately. Correia was an All-Star last season, but he was off to a slow start this year and is only 8-6 with a 4.49 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.
However, like Kennedy, Correia too has now allowed three earned runs or less in four straight starts with his last start coming vs. the Chicago Cubs, whom he held to two runs on just four hits in six innings. In fact, Correia is 5-0 in his last five starts and 6-0 in his last six decisions. He is facing an Arizona lineup that had been shut out in two of its prior three games before last night’s 10-run outburst.
Even that score was deceptive though as the Diamondbacks trailed 4-3 in the eighth inning before scoring seven runs in the last two frames vs. a normally great Pittsburgh bullpen that ranks third in the Major Leagues in bullpen ERA at 2.97. Do not expect another blowup tonight a these clubs go ‘under’ on Wednesday.
: Diamondbacks, Pirates ‘under’ 8 (-110)