The Pittsburgh Pirates will snare a valuable road win against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. The Pirates have a lot to play for. Coming into this contest, the club is deadlocked with the St. Louis Cardinals for the lead in the National League Central.
Pittsburgh’s starter, Charlie Morton, is the right man to have on the pitcher’s mound under the circumstances. He’s been incredibly consistent over his last five starts. In each of those outings he’s thrown a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three runs or fewer allowed) and, overall, during that stretch, he’s delivered a 1.83 ERA.
He’s certainly owned Milwaukee this season. In two appearances he given up zero earned runs in eight 2/3 innings pitched.
Bolstering Morton’s (and the Pirates’) chances are the Brewers’ decision to give Tyler Thornburg the pitching assignment. It’s not that Thornburg isn’t a good pitcher – he’s posted a 1.94 ERA in 41 2/3 innings in 2013.
The issue is the fact that he has pitched primarily out of the bullpen. In fact, the last time he started a Big League game was on August 14. In his subsequent four appearances he’s thrown a combined 5 1/3 innings. The upshot is that it’s unlikely that Thornburg will be able to go deep into this game.
That means the Milwaukee bullpen will be called on and that group has not performed too well. They’re currently well above average when it comes to runs allowed per game by a relief corps. Pick the Pirates at 1.72.
It’ll be a sharp pitchers’ contest when the Seattle Mariners visit the Kansas City Royals. The Royals’ starter Danny Duffy is a longtime prospect, who has made good so far in his Major League opportunities this season.
Through three starts, he has a 1.10 ERA. Most notable have been his last two games, in which he’s allowed no runs and six hits in 12 2/3 innings pitched. Despite his impressive start, it’s quite possible he’ll be outpitched by Seattle’s Felix Hernandez.
Admittedly, the Mariners’ right-hander has been knocked around in two of his past three outings, but he does have a solid track record against Royals hitters (Kansas City batters have a lifetime .243 batting average with a .289 on-base percentage in 115 plate appearances).
Even if two excellent pitchers weren’t getting the call for this game, it’s important to note that both teams are below league average in terms of runs scored per game. Combine that factor with the good pitchers and it’s best to consider taking under 7 runs at 1.95 in this one.
Back the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1.72
Back under 7 runs between the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Mariners at 1.95
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