Regional action on MLB Network on Thursday night as the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays battle the New York Yankees.

Matchup: Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies

Date/Time: September 11, 7:05 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: PIT: Francisco Liriano (4-10, 3.74) v. PHI: AJ Burnett (8-15, 4.29)

Moneyline:

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The Pittsburgh Pirates need every game they can get and they can get games against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Pirates are leading the race for the second NL Wild Card spot as they did a terrific job coming back from a 10-16 start. Give the Phillies credit because they have played hard since the All-Star Break with a 25-25 record, which is a major upgrade to how they played in the first half. This game will wrap up the series as the Pirates have a chance to take three out of four from their cross-state rivals.

Francisco Liriano will take the mound for the Pirates in this one. The lefty with the wipeout slider started the season in rather poor fashion with an 0-5 record and a 5.06 ERA through 11 starts. In 14 starts since, Liriano has a 2.75 ERA, but the Pirates have won just five of those 14 games. Opponents are batting just .196 since his May 30 start against the Dodgers. The Pirates have scored three runs or less in 17 of Liriano’s 25 starts and he has the lowest run support per nine innings of any pitcher with at least 130 innings pitched at just 2.56 runs.

AJ Burnett has spent most of the season pitching through a hernia. He took a 3.13 ERA into mid-May, but the 37-year-old has a 4.75 over his last 21 starts. He’s still recording nearly a strikeout per inning, but the command has started to diminish and that’s a problem for a pitcher that has had a home run issue in the past. Like Liriano, Burnett has gotten terrible run support this season with just 3.19 runs per game started and 3.39 runs per nine innings. Burnett is just 2-7 with a 5.31 ERA since the All-Star Break.

Amazingly, Francisco Liriano will be facing the Phillies for the first time in his career. Liriano is 41-27 with a 3.42 ERA against losing teams in his career. Burnett will be facing the Pirates for the fifth time in his career and just the second time since 2005. He allowed three runs in seven innings and took the loss earlier the season against the Pirates. The Pirates are 11-14 in Liriano’s 25 starts for a loss of 7.20 units, while the Phillies are 12-18 in Burnett’s 30 starts for a loss of 3.43 units.

Free MLB Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates

AJ Burnett is wearing down as the season comes to a close and the Pirates should be able to take full advantage. Liriano has pitched well and his win-loss record is a very misleading statistic. The Pirates just haven’t scored for him. The Phillies bullpen has been better overall, but the Pirates still have the upper hand and should be able to take care of business in this one.

Matchup: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees

Date/Time: September 11, 7:05 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: TB: Alex Cobb (9-7, 2.83) v. NYY: Michael Pineda (3-4, 1.80)

Moneyline:

Total:

Neither the Tampa Bay Rays nor the New York Yankees will be punching a ticket to October, but there are still games to play. The Rays enter Thursday’s action six games under .500 and they appear to be ticketed for their first losing season since 2007, the last season that they had “Devil” in their name. The Yankees still have an outshot shot, 4.5 games in back of the Detroit Tigers, but they trail the Mariners and Blue Jays and time is running out. They will have the opportunity to take the series on Thursday.

Alex Cobb heads to the mound for the Rays on Thursday. Cobb has turned in another fine season that was unfortunately shortened by an injury earlier this season. Cobb was held to 22 starts last year after getting domed by a line drive and he’s made just 23 starts this season. He missed nearly a month from mid-April to late May, but he has been brilliant since the All-Star Break. Trying to get his arm strength and mechanics in order, Cobb hit the break with a 4.08 ERA. In 10 starts since, Cobb has a 1.28 ERA and is 5-1. He has only allowed nine earned runs in 64 innings, yet the Rays are just 6-4 in that span.

Michael Pineda overcame a suspension and yet another injury to throw quality innings for the Yankees this season. There should be some optimism about Pineda entering next season as he has posted a 1.80 ERA in nine starts thus far. Since returning to the rotation on August 13, Pineda has allowed six earned runs in 30.1 innings of work with 19 strikeouts and just one walk. Opposing batters have posted a .452 OPS in that span.

Cobb will be facing the Yankees for the ninth time and he has been excellent in his previous eight starts. He’s 5-1 with a 1.75 ERA. In his lone start this season, he pitched 7.1 shutout innings. The Rays are just 11-12 in Cobb’s 23 starts for a loss of 4.92 units due to a lack of run support.

Pineda will be facing the Rays for the third time, but first time since 2011 as a member of the Seattle Mariners. Pineda is 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA and current Rays have a .705 OPS in a 44 PA sample size against him. The Yankees are 3-6 in Pineda’s nine starts for a loss of 4.18 units.

Free MLB Pick: New York Yankees

This looks to be an extremely low-scoring game between a couple of guys that don’t walk many hitters and are pitching very well right now. The stronger play would be to the under, but totals have never been given out in my write-ups, so why start now? The Yankees are still fighting for a chance at October and the Rays lineup has put together some really terrible at bats in recent days.