Our red-hot week continued yesterday as we picked up yet another win, to run our record to a sizzling 6-1 on the week. Yesterday’s play was on the under in the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals game. The total of nine seemed mighty high for a game that featured Stephen Strasburg on the mound for Washington. Generally, the total on games with Strasburg on the mound are in the seven to eight-run range. I was a little worried that the Nationals might find a way to touch up Cardinals rookie starting pitcher Dakota Hudson, but the Nats bats have been in hibernation for weeks, so that didn’t scare me off taking the value side and betting on the under.
The game itself didn’t even make us sweat as Strasburg was great and neither team could get anything going on offense all afternoon long. All told, Strasburg pitched six and two-thirds of an inning and allowed just one run on six scattered hits. He struck out nine, and the game came in way under at a 2-1 final. Even Dakota Hudson looked decent as this injury-decimated Nationals lineup managed just two runs, only one earned, against the youngster.
I don’t make a lot of totals bets, as for the most part, the numbers are sharp. But occasionally the books will post a bad number like this one, and you have to be right there to take advantage of it. For today’s pick, I will head to Pittsburgh where the Pirates host the Oakland A’s.
The Oakland Athletics head to Pittsburgh Friday for game one of a three-game series against the Pirates. The A’s are mired in a season-long six-game losing streak and are hoping to break out of that slump today. Oakland is just 4-11 on the road this season after coming into the season as a sleeper pick to win the American League West Division title.
For the Pirates, they know how long losing streaks feel as they had lost eight straight games before picking up the two-game sweep over the Texas Rangers in their last series. Starting for the Athletics is Brett Anderson (3-2 4.35 ERA), and for the Pirates, it is Joe Musgrove (1-2 1.54 ERA). The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. The Pirates are small -116 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
A lot of people thought coming into the season that the Oakland Athletics would give the Houston Astros a run for their money for the AL West title. The A’s finished as one of the hottest teams in the league last year when they made an improbable run to the AL Wild Card. But things have just not broken the A’s way so far this season as they are in last place. They will turn to Brett Anderson tonight, hoping to turn their disappointing season around.
Brett Anderson enjoyed a decent start to the season. He was by no means lights out, but through his first four starts, he was 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA. But in his last two starts, he has seen the wheels fall off as he has lasted a total of seven innings and has allowed eight earned runs. And surprisingly enough, both of those starts came against the very weak hitting Toronto Blue Jays.
Much like the rest of this Oakland team, Anderson just isn’t the same outside of Oakland. We talked earlier about the Athletics struggles away from home, and Anderson echoes that sentiment as his road ERA is 5.29, a full two runs higher than what he does at home. It will be interesting to see if Anderson can get back on track tonight against a Pirates team that doesn’t score a lot of runs.
Joe Musgrove showed a lot of promise last season in his first year as a regular starter for the Pirates. And he has continued that momentum on into this season as he has been on fire to start the year. Musgrove has a 1.54 ERA in six appearances, five of those being starts. He has allowed just six earned runs in thirty-three innings pitched, while striking out thirty batters.
When you are stuck in a slump like the Oakland A’s are the last thing you want to see across from you is a kid like Joe Musgrove. Musgrove is a former first-round draft pick, that at still just twenty-six years old, is coming into his prime, and he is mowing through the competition right now. When you look at this recent six game losing streak for the A’s, the most runs they could muster in any one game has been four. I have a feeling they are going to be doing a lot of swinging and missing again tonight.
I see this game as being fairly low scoring, but with a total of just seven and a half, I will stay away from making a play on the under, but don’t be shocked if this is a 3-2 type of game. I think the Pirates will find a way to get a couple of runs off Anderson and grind out the win tonight at home. The A’s have been awful on the road all season long, and right now; the Pirates might just be catching them at their worst. So, I will lay just a tiny amount of wood and back the Pirates tonight at home in game one. Give me the Pittsburgh Pirates as small home favorites tonight, laying -116!