Seattle Mariners at Pittsburgh Pirates
First pitch: 9:35 a.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Yusei Kikuchi (6-10, 5.46 ERA) vs. Joe Musgrove (10-12, 4.52 ERA)
There’s a somber mood in the air hovering throughout the Pittsburgh clubhouse and it appears to have affected the team’s play.
Since stud closer Felipe Vazquez was shockingly arrested only a few days ago (not to mention the injuries to the club’s two best hitters, Josh Bell and Starling Marte), the Pirates have stumbled at the dish, scoring just one run total in the first two games of this series. Overall, they’ve dropped five in a row.
This scenario figures to put a pitcher like Kikuchi in a favorable spot, especially being left-handed. The Bucs are second-to-last in all of baseball with a collective .679 OPS opposite southpaws, and Kikuchi should also be aided by the fact that this offense’s home-run rate with a lefty on the hill (36.4 AB/HR) is dead-last in the National League.
Under backers can also take solace knowing this is a daytime assignment for Kikuchi. The Japanese import has fared better with the sun out in his first major league campaign, producing a 4.56 ERA in these starts compared to a 5.95 ERA at night. Most notable, he allows far fewer balls to leave the park during the day (1.18 HR/9) than at night (2.65 HR/9).
At the same time, I don’t think Musgrove will be influenced by his club’s current predicament. Instead, it may fuel him as he’s basically the guy leading the pitching staff right now, topping the rotation with 29 starts.
And the 26-year-old has earned that recognition with another decent showing this year, his second in Pittsburgh. Musgrove is in a groove entering this outing, too, having yielded three runs or fewer in five of his last six assignments.
Possessing his solid form right now, the Pirates right-hander is more than capable of handling a Mariners lineup that is absent a few key regulars (Kyle Seager, Domingo Santana, Dee Gordon) this afternoon, being a day game following a night affair. That setting only adds to the chances of a low-scoring pace playing out. Play: UNDER 9 (-120)
Yesterday’s Result: Marlins-Diamondbacks Under 9 (Push)
2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 85-73-11, +2.6 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit