My free play for tonight is on the Pittsburgh Pirates Run Line, as they return home after an impressive sweep of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, to host the lowly Chicago Cubs. And trust me, the Bucs are rolling once again, and could very well pull off a four-game sweep of the baby bears.
I think what I've found most impressive about the Pirates is how the recent acquisitions Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd have responded for the National League contenders. Morneau (.313 in 32 at-bats) and Byrd (.321 in 53 RBIs) have bolstered a lineup that already includes Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez.
Pittsburgh trails first-place St. Louis by just one game in the National League Central, and both are riding the Majors' longest current win streaks. The Cardinals are tied with Washington with a five-game win streak, while the Bucs have won three win a row.
Meanwhile, the Cubs were shutout for the 13th time this season in last night's 6-0 loss to Cincinnati. That can't bode well now that they're in Pittsburgh, and knowing the Pirates just swept a three-game set from the Rangers even with the hot-hitting McCutchen (.469 over his last nine games) resting for the finale.
Pittsburgh is 45-25 at home and opens an 11-game homestand that not only includes the Cubs, but also features four games against the San Diego Padres and three games against the Milwaukee Brewers. Dare I say the Pirates could go 11-0?
Oh well, the winning begins tonight.
4* PITTSBURGH RUN LINE