After last night's shocking ending, the Pirates and Braves return to the field. The Pirates obviously feel cheated after "the call" that ended the 19 inning game, and look to settle the score tonight against Jair Jurrjens and the Braves.
Players will be tired
as the Atlanta Braves (60-44) host the Pittsburgh Pirates (53-48). Last night's
game went 19 innings in where an incorrect call decided the outcome. A very
disappointing ending to a memorable 6 hour and 39 minute game. The Pirates will
look to get revenge on the Braves and the umpires tonight.
MLB odds boards have opened the Braves as the -185 betting favorites, while setting the total at 7.
A ground ball by Atlanta pitcher Scott Proctor was hit to third baseman Pedro
Alvarez and Julio Lugo of the Braves took off for home to end this marathon.
Lugo tried to avoid the catcher with a pop-up slide but was out by a
significant margain. The umpire called him safe, giving Atlanta a 4-3 victory.
A game played for that long can't be determined buy such a poor call. Fans are outraged.
The Pirates are fighting it out for the National League Central title while
Atlanta is secure for a wild card berth at the moment. Every game counts and
this one could be looked at by Pittsburgh at the end of the season as they're
currently 1 game behind the division leading St. Louis Cardinals.
Pirates face another obstacle
This time it won't be the home plate umpire, it will be one of the best
pitchers in the league in Jair Jurrjens (12-3, 2.44). Jurrjens has had 2
consecutive poor outings with no decisions in each. In his last 2 starts,
Jurrjens has pitched 11 innings and has given up 10 runs on 12 hits. In his
last outing, Jurrjens gave up 3 long balls in just 6 innings pitched. Can he
He shutout the Pirates in 7 2/3 in his last outing against Pittsburgh
and carries a career record of 2-3 with a 2.35 ERA (not much run support with a
great ERA). Jurrjens is a great pitcher and I expect him to have an exceptional
outing and look for Pittsburgh to be up to the challenge.
Is Dan Uggla Back?
Dan Uggla has had an awful season after being a solid contributor for the Florida
Marlins previously. For the season, Uggla is in Adam Dunn territory. He's
hitting .199 with 18 HR and 41 RBI. Amazingly enough, Uggla is currently on a
17 game hitting streak. This is one of the more bizarre types of seasons that
you'll see a player have. In the 17 games, Uggla is 21 for 63 (.333) with 4
doubles, 6 HR and 12 RBI.
If Uggla continues to play like this, the Braves will
give the Phillies a run for their money. In his last 17 games, Uggla's batting
average has raised 21 points. Look for Dan Uggla to return to his old form that
made him a very popular player for most fantasy league participants.
Home is where the heart is
Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm has been the recipient of poor run support. He
sports a very admirable 3.26 ERA but is just 6-10 on the season. This is a
pitcher that had a poor record with double digit losses last year but this year
his ERA has dropped nearly 2 points. Unfortunately, he'll be playing at Atlanta
and Maholm hasn't faired well on the road this season with a 1-5 mark and a
4.45 ERA .
Opposing hitters are hitting .271 against him on the road while for
the season, they're hitting just .244. Maholm is not prone to the long ball,
he's just prone to not getting support and being less than average on the road.
I don't think the record tells the story here. Look for Maholm and the Pirates
to come out inspired after a tough unjustified loss on Tuesday.
Two man offense
Pittsburgh's offense barely has a pulse, ranking towards the bottom of the
league in almost all statistical categories. Thankfully for them, Andre
McCutchen and Neil Walker have been able to carry this team to such an
exceptional record and into contention for the divisional title. McCutchen has
come up aces this season with 14 HR, 60 RBI, 276 BA, and 16 SB.
into August and he's the only player in double figures on the team in home
runs. McCutchen had an 0 for 6 showing in the 19 inning marathon and hasn't
been playing well as of late. He's also a career 0 for 7 against Jurrjens.
Pittsburgh will need their leader to step up to have a legitimate chance
against a top notch pitcher.
Walker hasn't hit well either lately, but does play better on the road than at
home. He was 3 for 8 on Tuesday with an RBI and has 6 HR, 37 RBI, and .297 BA
on the road in 49 games this season. Look for Neil Walker to come up big where
he does best, on the road.
Pittsburgh didn't get to 5 games above .500 from throwing in the towel after a little
adversity. They did it on good pitching. Their 3.36 ERA ranks them 7th in the
league and I look for Maholm to give a good accounting of himself against a
better team and pitcher.
Outcome of the Game
The betting odds are appealing for Pittsburgh as a dog but you can't go against Jair
Jurrjens here. Both teams will be tired. Pittsburgh doesn't offer much of an
offense and both pitchers are very solid. The total is low at 7 but I'm going
to go out on a limb and take the under in this spot. Jurrjens is very tough and
Maholm has been the product of poor run support.
Pick - Pittsburgh- Atlanta Under 7