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August 25, 2017

There is one pick today.

Take Pittsburgh Pirates (-122) on the ML against Cincinnati Reds risking 3.66% to win 3%.
(Nova and Stephenson must start for wager to have action)

The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t been a team that has been known for their offense this season, however, this is a matchup that we believe will awaken their bats as they open up a series with a struggling Cincinnati Reds.

The Cincinnati Reds have been a very solid offensive team at times this year, but their pitching has been terrible and only seems to be getting worse. The Reds have the worst team ERA in the league at 5.44, but in their last 10 games that ERA is at 7.79, which includes an ERA of 8.78 from their bullpen over that same stretch. It has been their pitching that has kept them from competing for a division title or a wildcard berth this year. We expect their pitching woes will continue as they send Robert Stephenson to the mound tonight.

Stephenson has struggled this season and comes into this matchup 1-4 with a 6.13 ERA in 18 games on the year, including 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA in four games as a starter. Stephenson has proven that he is not an elite level pitcher and his time in the starting rotation is likely drawing to a close. In his career, he has gone 3-5 with a 5.49 ERA in 12 starts overall and he is 2-3 with a 4.80 ERA in 12 games (six starts) at Great American Ballpark. He has faced the Pirates 5 times in his career, three as a starter and two in relief and they haven't been pretty. He is 0-0 with a 6.38 ERA in his career against Pittsburgh.

The Reds come into this series having lost seven of their last 11 games to fall to 21 games under .500. They have the 3rd worst record in the National League after tying the Padres for worst record in the NL last year. Meanwhile, the Pirates, although not playing their best baseball, still have an outside chance at making the postseason, and it makes a series like this, incredibly important for Pitt. They can ill afford to drop a series against one of the worst teams in the National League and we expect that they will come out in this series opener looking to make a statement. Pittsburgh will have a significant edge on the mound with Ivan Nova and their bats should be able to generate enough offense versus Stephenson to come away with the series opening victory.

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