Pirates at Astros – Free Pick September 22

Pittsburgh Pirates -119 at Houston Astros +111 (Total: 8.5)

Kevin Correia (11-9, 4.09 ERA) vs. Dallas Kuechel (2-7, 4.97 ERA)

How quickly things fade… Just a few months ago the Pirates were in first place.  One month ago, their playoff chances were still looking solid and their first .500 season in two decades was all but assured.  Tonight?  At 74-76, losers of four straight and twelve of their last fourteen, their dream season has turned into a nightmare.  Last night’s 7-1 loss to the pathetic Astros was a punctuation mark on what most baseball fans have been slow to admit; it’s OVER in 2012 for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

SO the question now is, do they have some heart and resilliancy and fight for the relatively meaningly “plus .500 season” or do they simply play out the string and wait for the season to end??

Let’s take a look inside the numbers and see if we can find the winning edge and rack up our fourth straight win here on The Sports Geek.

The trends are basically equally terrible.  The Pirates have gone 3-13 in their last 16 road games.  The Astros are 2-12 in Kuechel’s last 14 starts and 2-8 in Kuechel’s last 10 starts as an underdog. The trends for the Astros as a team are even worse.  They are just 19-41 in their last 60 teams against a team with a losing record.  That tells me, not only are they BAD, they are bad against bad teams as well.  As in, “you might be bad, but just wait until you see how abjectly terrible we are!”  They’ve shown a few signs of life as a ballclub in the last few weeks, they are actually 5-5 in their last ten games, but for the season, they’ve been simply awful.

The Pirates are in a free fall, but I think Correia puts a stop to it tonight.  The Pirates are 4-1 in his last five starts, and 5-0 in his last five starts as a favorite.  They are 7-1 overall in Correia’s last eight starts against a team with a losing record.  The Astros certainly fit that criteria.

It’s going to be an exciting sprint to the finish and an amazing playoff scramble.  Unfortunately, the Pirates are unlikely to be a part of it.  All that’s left now is to play for pride, and the pride of a city that has waited two decades for a “non-loser.”  Tonight is a big game to deliver that result, and I think Correia will deliver.

Free Pick:  Pittsburgh Pirates to WIN -120