Date/Time: June 29th, 7:15 PM ET
MLB Betting Odds from BetOnline Sportsbook
Probable Starters: Hand (Milwaukee) vs. Liriano (Pittsburgh)
Moneyline: Pirates -170
The Pittsburgh Pirates are the hottest team in baseball, as they have won seven games in a row and are streaking towards 50 wins. In fact, they'll become the first team in the bigs to reach that 50-win plateau if they can beat the MLB betting lines against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.
The Brewers have major offensive problems right now. They only plated three runs on Friday night against these Pirates, marking the 10th time in 11 games that they were held to four runs or fewer. The offense from last night featured four batters hitting .236 or worse. With OF Ryan Braun still out of the fold, things aren't really expected to get all that much better. What's worse for Milwaukee though, is the way that its pitching staff has been. Manager Ron Roenicke is just cutting and pasting a staff together, and it hasn't been pretty. The team has allowed at least seven runs five times in the last 10 games, and it is going to be up to RHP Donovan Hand to try to stop that. Hand hasn't allowed a run in his last 7.2 innings of work, and he has only allowed three hits and a walk since then, but he is a relief pitcher who is going to be asked to start the day after the bullpen had to pitch a ton of innings. Hand has a 2.37 ERA, but he only has 12 strikeouts in 19 innings of work, which is pedestrian for an average bullpen pitcher. Matters could get worse in this, just his second stint in the rotation.
The Pirates just keep streaking, and they are now doing it back at home, where PNC Park has been rocking and rolling. They got yet another win for RHP Gerrit Cole on Friday night, and they are going to try to do the same for LHP Francisco Liriano on Saturday. At 6-3 with a 2.30 ERA, the argument could be made that Liriano has been the best of the starting pitchers for the Bucs this year. He really has yet to have a horrid start, and he is starting to look like the man that was thought to be a super stud in the Minnesota Twins system all those years ago. Liriano has his strikeout total way up this season, as he is at 61 in 54.2 innings of work, and his walks are down as well with just 22. Liriano is 5-2 with a 3.50 ERA in his career against the Brewers, and he held them down to just one run in 5.2 innings of work when he met them back on May 16th.
In the end, there is just too much going for Pittsburgh and too little going for Milwaukee to bet this game any other way. Don't fall into the stereotype that says, "Oh, these are the Pirates, and they're going to fall apart eventually." They should be at least -200 favorites on Saturday night, and we're going to take full advantage of it.
Milwaukee Brewers @ Pittsburgh Pirates Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates -170