Our second of three plays on Saturday is a second side, where the Pittsburgh Pirates are coming off a loss against the lowly Brewers. After being overmatched by Mike Fiers last night, Pittsburgh looks to get even in a series against the Central cellar dwellers.
He’s just 5-6 in the record column but Francisco Liriano has put together another really nice year for the Buccos with a 1.03 WHIP and an ERA under 3.00. I’ve also learned over the years that a rested Liriano is a Liriano worth backing. With some extra days of rest between Saturday and his last start before the All-Star break, Liriano might even have a little extra zip on his stuff for Milwaukee. He threw eight great innings back in a June loss against the Brew Crew. If he can do something similar tonight he appears to be a value pick at -125.
That doesn’t mean any disrespect to Jimmy Nelson. I’ve had a little success backing the man this year and do genuinely like his stuff as a guy who will stick around in the big leagues for a long time. He carried the momentum of seven scoreless against the Dodgers into the break with him and will probably throw well against the Pirates too. Like the Baltimore and Detroit game, the under is (even more) tempting in this spot because I certainly don’t think the total gets to nine. But with the under just about the same price as the Pirates straight-up and the distinct possibility of pushing it anyway, I’m partial to the road team here. Pittsburgh needs every win it can get in the incredibly tough Central. It let one go last night and the Pirates should come out hungry for their first win of the second half. With Liriano rested and the offense more accustomed to Nelson this time around, Pittsburgh should get a win up in Wisconsin.
Free Pick: Pittsburgh -125
YTD: 14-8-4 +4.72
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02