Arizona Kicks Off Series Against Pittsburgh as MLB Betting Favorites
The Pittsburgh Pirates already have lost their best position player to suspension. Now their best young pitcher is out. The team is struggling and last in the NL Central as it opens a series in Arizona on Thursday night. Currently, the Pirates are in a series finale today against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They have lost 2 of 3 games. For the Diamondbacks, they’ll be ending a 2 games series against the Detroit Tigers today as well. They lost the first game last night. The Snakes will be MLB betting favorites for the start of this series.
Pittsburgh at Arizona MLB Betting Analysis & Game Info
When: Thursday, May 11, 9:40 PM ET
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix
Probable pitchers (away/home): Gerrit Cole/Zack Greinke
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Radio: Pittsburgh / Arizona
Opening MLB Lines: Diamondbacks favored by TBA
Why Bet On Pittsburgh?
The Pirates players could be in the dumps for a while after learning that pitcher Jameson Taillon had surgery for possible testicular cancer on Monday. The team had put him on the 10-day DL over the weekend for simply groin discomfort. His treatment plan is pending further testing.
The timeline for Taillon’s return to baseball is unclear and a back-burner concern for the Pirates, a team already short several key players because of arrest, suspension and injury. The No. 2 overall draft pick in 2010, sandwiched between now-superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, Taillon traversed a pitted road to the major leagues. He missed two seasons because of Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery in 2014 and a sports-hernia surgery in 2015. He was 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA this season after a very nice rookie 2016 campaign.
The Bucs saw star outfielder Starling Marte suspended 80 games earlier this season for drug use. They remain without third baseman Jung Ho Kang. In March, Kang received an eight-month jail sentence, which was suspended for two years, following his third DUI conviction in South Korea since 2009. Kang, 30, remains in Seoul because he has been unable to procure a United States work visa. His appeals hearing has been set for May 25 at Seoul Central District Court.
It’s ace Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.14) on the mound here. Cole was at his best against the Brewers last week, allowing just one run, a solo homer, in seven innings. Despite his 1-3 record, the right-hander owns a 2.37 ERA through six starts since his five-run Opening Day outing.
Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington addressed speculation from the New York Daily News that stated Cole could become a prime trade target for the Yankees. “Our expectation is that Gerrit is going to be a Pirate for a while,” Huntington said.
Why Bet On Arizona?
Entering this week, the Diamondbacks were 12-5 at home and own the third-best home win percentage in the Majors (.706). First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .390 over his last 17 games with four doubles, five home runs, 20 RBIs and 11 walks.
It’s Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.09) on the mound. Greinke won last Friday at the Rockies, covering seven innings and surrendering two runs on six hits and no walks while striking out seven. It was Greinke’s fourth consecutive quality start, during which he’s compiled an impressive 3.03 ERA and 43:6 K:BB ratio over 38.2 innings. The velocity decline that Greinke experienced in spring training has carried over to the regular season, but the right-hander’s offerings haven’t suffered one bit, as his career-best 13.1 percent swinging-strike rate attests.
In recent outings, his slider has been a big part of the turnaround, but he also has had excellent command and is having success despite losing a tick and a half off his fastball from previous years.
Greinke had a disappointing debut season with the Diamondbacks, struggling to stay healthy as his numbers declined in most important statistical categories. The veteran went 13-7 in ’16 despite a 4.37 ERA, his worst since 2010. But while he never quite believed his results and performance were properly aligned last year, he doesn’t deny that this season has been better. In his past four starts, with the slider averaging 84.9 mph, opponents are hitting just .132 with a .237 slugging.
“My fastball command has been pretty good,” he said. “My slider has been as good as it’s been in a long time. Maybe the defense has gotten better and it’s making things smoother? I don’t know. I feel like I have been making better pitches. The results are better. Everything has been better.”
Pittsburgh at Arizona MLB Betting Pick: Under Total
This is one of those were I would recommend the total – likely 7.5 – over the side with two good pitchers on the mound. Go under that total.