In thick of the playoff race, the Pittsburgh Pirates try to make it two in a row against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who themselves are chasing their longtime rivals, the San Francisco Giants, for the NL West lead.
By: Willie Bee -
Three down and one to go for the Los Angeles Dodgers and
Pittsburgh Pirates who wrap up their 4-game set with a Thursday matinee at PNC
It's also a case of three down for the Pirates after
dropping the first three games of this crucial series. Make that seven down in 10 tries on this
homestand that was supposed to have been their defining moment in making it
back to the postseason after such a long drought. The MLB odds suggest Pittsburgh will at least end the series and
the homestand on a high note with the Bucs installed as favorites in the -125
to -130 range at a majority of shops.
Thursday's scoreboard hurdle has been set at 7.5 with
several places pricing the OVER a few pennies higher.
Once again, the Dodgers scored with relative ease in
Wednesday's 9-3 victory to move to within a game of their first ever 4-game
sweep at PNC Park. They've enjoyed several 3-game broom jobs before on this diamond, where
they now stand 31-13 all-time, and will be gunning for their 10th consecutive
win over Pittsburgh.
takes aim at the sweep with Joe Blanton on the mound. Blanton will, in turn, take aim at his first
win in a Dodgers uniform and his first dubya in a month since he ironically
beat LA at Chavez Ravine on July 16. The
beefy righty also beat the Pirates in Philadelphia
earlier this season after taking a loss out of the Phillies pen at PNC Park
back in early April.
Standing in LA's way of the sweep is Pirates ace AJ Burnett. The veteran is coming off his first home
setback of the season when the Padres roughed Burnett up a bit last
Saturday. He didn't face the Dodgers in
April, and has seen them only once since 2005, his final season with the
One big theme on this homestand for the Pirates, other than
them losing seven of the first 10 games, is the OVER which has cashed eight of
the 10 games. I do like Burnett bouncing
back from his only home loss of the year and keeping Pittsburgh from being swept in his series,
but I like the idea of at least eight runs coming plateward this
afternoon. Mark me down for a play on
pick: Over 7.5 (-110)
By: Willie Bee -
Wednesday's key words at PNC
Park in Pittsburgh are "first win." Clayton Kershaw is looking for his first career win over the Pirates, and
Wandy Rodriguez seeks his first win
in a Bucs jersey when opposing the Los Angeles Dodgers.
MLB odds for the 7:05 PM (ET) first pitch at PNC Park
went out with LA -145 to -155, and have settled at -140 as of Wednesday
morning. The total opened at 7 runs and
remains there, priced 15-20 cents to the UNDER at many of the fine betting
establishments charted by SBRodds.
Thanks to Chad Billingsley on Tuesday, it's also not a case
of me looking for my first winning pick in this series. Billingsley won his fifth straight start by
working eight shutout frames in the Dodgers' 11-0 win as $1.20 chalk. Those 11 runs might be a bit misleading for
some folks who don't delve a little deeper into the boxscore. Four of LA's first seven scores came on
infield hits, sac flies and ground outs, so it's not like the Dodgers tore the
cover off the ball. Their final five
runs were at reliever Chad Qualls' expense, and it's high time MLB teams quit
recycling him into their bullpens.
Kershaw had the one hiccup in St. Louis since the All-Star break but has
otherwise been unbeatable. A string of
seven straight starts not allowing a homer was snapped his last time out in a
victory at Miami,
and he stifled Pirates hitters at Chavez Ravine back in April (7 IP, 1 ER).
Rodriguez has come out on the losing end in his last two
outings while allowing a pair of bleacher bombs in both starts. The southpaw saw the Dodgers in April while
he was still in an Astros uniform, and tossed seven shutout innings in a
This homestand for Pittsburgh
has been a disaster so far at 3-6, and one can't help but wonder if the wheels
are starting to come off. The Pirates
began the stand 33-16 at PNC
Park, the best home
record in baseball, while the Dodgers have pushed their road record to 31-28
after winning four of their first five on the current 10-game trip.
I'm riding the streaking Dodgers and last year's NL Cy Young
winner in this game with a play on LA.
pick: Dodgers -140
By: Willie Bee -
PNC Park continues to be a most hospitable away setting for the Los Angeles Dodgers who took Monday's series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-4. The two teams get right back to it Tuesday night with an intriguing matchup on the mound.
MLB odds for the second game generally introduced Los Angeles as a -110 to
-115 favorite, with the line rising to -120 on the Dodgers by Tuesday
morning. The game total is eight and
we'll call the OVER/UNDER equally priced.
What makes the pitching duel interesting is both of
tonight's starters have been putting cash into baseball bettors' pockets for a
few weeks now. Chad Billingsley has been
solid in four assignments for LA since his brief trip to the disabled list, and
Kevin Correia has grabbed the dubya in his last six starts. Each hurler has also pitched well against the
opposing lineups when the clubs met in Los
Angeles back in early April.
Indeed, Billingsley has enjoyed success vs. the Pirates
throughout his career. He tossed six
innings and allowed just a solo homer for Pittsburgh's
only run in a 4-1 victory on April 11. The win lifted his career mark to 6-1 against the Bucs to go with an
3.83 ERA over eight career assignments.
Correia took a no-decision during that series in LA, like
Billingsley tossing six frames of 1-run ball in the Dodgers eventual 2-1
As you'd expect considering the Pirates suffered 19-straight
losing seasons entering the 2012 campaign, the Dodgers have owned this series
the past 20 years, and bring a 7-game win streak over Pittsburgh into Tuesday's game. Los Angeles
has also ruled the crow's nest at PNC
Park since it opened in
2001, with Monday's victory raising the club's mark to 29-13 on this diamond.
Monday's win also allowed the Dodgers to catch the San
Francisco Giants in the NL West while giving them a very nice 3-1 start to this
road trip. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh
has suddenly lost some of its magic with four defeats at PNC Park
in the last five games on this homestand.
I'll ride the streaking Dodgers tonight behind Billingsley
against the suddenly slumping Pirates.
Pick: Dodgers -120