Jeff Locke (2-2, 5.40 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (18-21) meet Mike Pelfrey (3-1, 3.23 ERA) and the Minnesota Twins (22-17) in the second of a two-game interleague series at PNC Park. The Twins won the last game 8-5 and Minnesota leads the series 1-0. The game gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May. 20 and will air on FSN-N and ROOT-PIT.
In his most recent outing, Locke pitched 3.2 innings, allowing five runs, striking out four and walking three in an 11-10 loss to the Cubs. Pedro Alvarez (.227, 18 Rs, 7 HRs, 17 RBIs) played well again yesterday, going 2 for 5 with one run, one home run, and one RBI. In his pitching opportunities against the Pirates, Pelfrey is 3-2 with a 4.78 ERA, 22 strikeouts and 11 walks. Brian Dozier (.264, 31 Rs, 7 HRs, 20 RBIs, 3 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday with two runs, one home run, and one RBI.
Pittsburgh is a -148 favorite in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is eight runs. When playing as the favorite, the Pirates have a 14-11 record and overall money line at -462. They have not performed well against the American League, earning an SU record of 1-2 and a 1-2 record when they were the favorite. Pittsburgh has averaged 1.7 runs per game during interleague play, lower than its season average of 3.8. Don't expect the Pittsburgh hitters to swing wildly in their own ballpark. They average an NL-low 6.1 strikeouts per home game. Whenever an American League opponent shows up on the calendar, the Pirates pitch better. They allow an average of 3.5 runs per game, but allow just 2.3 against teams from the AL. An area where the Pirates are particularly strong is striking batters out, where they average 8.3 K's per game.
Switching gears, the Twins come into this game with a win percentage of .500 when playing as the underdog (15-15) and an overall money line of +807. When playing NL opponents, they have a 6-2 as the favorite and 21-17 SU. They also allow just 2.5 walks per game, good for second in the AL.
The only other game between the two teams went Minnesota's way. The Pirates will take on a right-hander (Pelfrey) in this game and have a 17-16 record against right-handed starting pitchers this season. Taking the hill against the Twins will be the left-hander Locke. Southpaw starters haven't been a big issue for them as they sport an 11-5 record.
Predictions: SU Winner - PIT, O/U - Over
Pittsburgh has won 36% (5-9) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, Minnesota has won 45% (5-6) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Pirates are coming into this game after allowing two walks during their last outing. The Twins have a 9-16 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
When they are outhit, the Twins are 4-16. The Pirates have a 4-13 record when opponents outhit them.
Both falling near the bottom of the league based on total home runs this season, Pittsburgh ranks 22nd with 31 homers and Minnesota is 24th with 29.
Ranking 11th, Pittsburgh is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.18 per game. Minnesota ranks in the top five at fourth with 8.82.
Pittsburgh and Minnesota both rank near the bottom of the league for their on-base plus slugging percentage. Pittsburgh sits at 27th with an OPS of .671 and Minnesota ranks 21st with an OPS of .700.
When the Twins allow at least one home run, they are 12-13. When the Pirates allow one or more homers, they have a 5-13 record.