It was a busy trade deadline for just about every contending team around Major League Baseball. But one of the few playoff hopefuls to not pull the trigger on a move was the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Buccos stayed quieter this year after acquiring Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau at the deadline last year. And Pittsburgh will look to overtake the Brewers and the re-tooled St. Louis Cardinals in the last two months of the season. The Pirates stay in Arizona to play another one Friday night and they will send Edinson Volquez to the hill to take on the recently-acquired Vidal Nuno. Even on the road, the Bucs have the slight edge, according to Vegas, as -115 favorites with a total fluctuating between 8.5 and 9.0. And after a 3-0 day on Wednesday night, we’ll look to keep it hot with the first play in August from Chase Field.
Many people thought Edinson Volquez‘s once bright career was over after failed stops in Los Angeles and San Diego. But the young hurler, who was once swapped straight up for Josh Hamilton, has revived his career in Pittsburgh very much like Francisco Liriano did in 2013. Volquez has posted a 3.87 ERA and 1.30 WHIP this season and has stayed healthy. Volquez is coming off a start against the Rockies where he gave up only two runs, but wasn’t able to throw deep into the game. Volquez burned through 99 pitches to get through just 4.1 innings. After his best start of the season, a 114-pitch complete game against the Cardinals, Volquez has struggled in two outings. The Pirates starter has allowed 23 baserunners in that span, which consists of only nine innings.
Meanwhile, Vidal Nuno makes his fifth start in a Diamondbacks uniform after being dealt for veteran starter Brandon McCarthy. Nuno has allowed just nine runs in his four prior starts with Arizona and he’s coming off a two-run, 6.2 inning start against the Phillies. Nuno has looked encouraging and gets his shot at a pretty sparse Pittsburgh offense. Pedro Alvarez probably won’t play amidst defensive issues, and Gregory Polanco is not yet a mature hitter against left-handed starters. And with Volquez struggling, he may pose some value in this home spot. I’ll shake things up and play Nuno as the home ‘dog at even money. Go Snakes!
Free Pick: Arizona (+100)
YTD: 28-20-2 +4.88