July 18, 2015 (Posted at 12:00 PM ET)
Picks will be posted at noon (12:00 PM ET) on Sunday.
Take Pittsburgh Pirates (-128) on the Money Line against Milwaukee Brewers risking 3% of the bankroll.
(Liriano and Nelson must start for wager to have action)
The Pirates will be looking to bounce back from their against the Brewers in Game 1 last night and will likely have a great chance to do so with their Ace on the mound tonight. Francisco Liriano has been absolutely spectacular for the Bucs this season. The Pirates have won his last 4 starts in which he is 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA. There is no doubt he will be looking to continue his recent performance and guide his team to victory tonight. Milwaukee went into the All-Star break with baseball's worst average against left-handed pitchers this season. Their team batting average against southpaws is just a paltry .222 and tonight faces an extremely a tough matchup against Liriano who is limiting opponents to an NL-best .174 average on the road! The crafy southpaw has pitched a lot better than his win-loss record suggests and should improve to 6-6 tonight.
The Brewers will send Jimmy Nelson to the hill. Nelson has pitched well recently and even flirted with a no hitter in his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, while the young hurler may be pitching well at the moment, let's not forget that he is still just 6-9 with a 4.21 ERA on the season. He has been a hittable pitcher and now that the Bucs have seen him a few times, we expect them to have more success.
The Pirates didn't play well last night. Andrew McCutchen went 0 for 4 from the plate; Pedro Alvarez committed his 15th error to match the NL's second-highest total while the only offense mustered was a Jung Ho Kang homer and two singles. That type of poor performance was almost expected after an extended break. The Pirates are a quality team who have shown perseverance this season and that has been on display since last night’s loss was just their 3rd out of their last 14 games. It won't take much for the Pirates to get back into the groove they were in prior to the break. They didn't use Mark Malencon last night but the closer who leads the Majors with saves should be ready to be called upon tonight if they require him.
The Milwaukee Brewers were one of the top teams in the National League Central at this point of the season last year however their extremely slow start to the season this year for all intent and purpose have basically eliminated from post season contention. Mathematically the Brew Crew still have a shot at the postseason but it is a very slim one as they need several teams to completely collapse in order for them to get there. They are a team that has talent and will win games here and there (like last night) but they are not a group that has any real playoff hopes or motivation left and that means they take more days off than contending ones. This is also a team that for the most part has struggled at home this season. The Brewers have been a much more dangerous team on the road than they have been in the confines of their home stadium. The Pirates are hands down the better overall team in this series and we expect them to bounce back and show that tonight. With their loss behind them, we fully expect the Pirates to win this game and even up the series as they face Taylor Jungmann in tomorrow's finale in what could be a more daunting task.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Pittsburgh is 10-3 so far in the month of July.
- Milwaukee is just 17-28 at Miller Park this season.
- Pittsburgh is 11-3 as a road favorite in the -125 to -150 range!
- Jonthan Lucroy has just 4 hits in 24 at-bats against Francisco Liriano.
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