Charlie Morton (6-1, 4.28 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (45-33) meet Trevor Bauer (6-5, 3.96 ERA) and the Cleveland Indians (37-41) in the first of a three-game interleague series at PNC Park. The game gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday, Jul. 3 and will air on STO and ROOT-PIT.
In his last start, Morton pitched 6.0 innings, allowing four runs and striking out six in an 8-4 victory over the Braves. Starling Marte (.288, 44 Rs, 13 HRs, 48 RBIs, 16 SBs) played well again yesterday, going 2 for 4 with one run, one RBI, and one stolen base. The Indians were unsuccessful to the Orioles 4-0 the last time Bauer pitched. He went 7.0 innings, allowing four runs, striking out five and walking one. Jason Kipnis (.347, 55 Rs, 6 HRs, 35 RBIs, 10 SBs) has been hitting the ball well for the Indians, going 2 for 5 yesterday with two runs and one RBI.
Pittsburgh is a -131 favorite in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is seven runs. The Pirates have a winning record of 37-19 when playing as the favorite and an overall money line of +416. They have performed well against the American League to earn an SU record of 7-4 and a 6-4 record when they were the favorite. They have been a terror on the base paths, ranking fourth in all of baseball with 61 steals. Below average play has been the norm lately for the Pittsburgh pitchers. The Pirates have given up an average of 4.6 runs to opponents in their last 10 games, above their season average of 3.4 runs per game.
Across the field, the Indians have a record of 12-14 when they are the underdog and are -1,406 overall with the money line. Over the past 10 matchups, they are 5-5 SU and have played poorly as the underdog with a 1-3 record. When it comes to scoring runs, the Indians haven't performed as well against teams from the NL. During those games, they averaged three runs per game, below their 4.0 season average. Shifting to the pitching staff, they have some of the most overpowering arms in baseball with an AL-high 9.2 strikeouts per game.
The Pirates will take on a right-hander (Bauer) in this game and have a 36-27 record against right-handed starting pitchers this season. The right-handed Morton will take the mound against the Indians, who have a 25-23 record against righty starters this season.
Predictions: SU Winner - PIT, O/U - Over
The Indians won their last game by a one-run margin. In games decided by one run, the Pirates are 15-13. The Indians are 9-8 in close games this season.
The Indians are 2-2 in games that go into extra innings. Meanwhile, the Pirates are 4-7 in such matchups.
The Indians are coming into this game after allowing one walk during their last outing. The Pirates have a 10-18 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
When they outhit their opponents, the Indians are 30-6. The Pirates have a 33-5 record when outhitting opponents.
Both falling in the bottom half of the league based on total runs this season, Pittsburgh ranks 17th with 320 runs and Cleveland is 18th with 317.
Ranking 21st, Pittsburgh is near the bottom of the league in walks, notching 205 this season. Cleveland ranks in the top five at second with 280.
When the Pirates hit at least one home run, they are 26-15, well-matched with the Indians who are 29-17 when hitting one or more homers.