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The Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates will continue their series here. Arizona has won the first two games, and the Pirates are looking to avoid going down 3-0 in the series. To do so, they’ll need a strong outing from Jordan Lyles here. Rookie Merrill Kelly will be on the mound for the Diamondbacks. Oddsmakers have the Pirates as modest favorites here for this one.
The Diamondbacks started slow, but they’ve been coming on very strong lately. Entering this one, they’ve now won seven of their last nine games. They’ve won the first two games of this series, and their offense has been playing a lot better.
Over the first two games of this series, they’ve outscored the Pirates 14-5. As they try to keep the momentum going, they’ll turn to Merrill Kelly here. The rookie has been up and down, just like most rookies. He’s had some brilliant starts, like when he pitched eight innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox, and some starts where he struggled. Kelly is an interesting case because he spent a long time in the Korean baseball league. Kelly is 30, so he’s not your typical rookie. He’s played a ton of high-level baseball, and I don’t think he’ll have the nerves pitching on the road that your average rookie might.
Merrill Kelly bringin' the heat 🔥 for his first career Kpic.twitter.com/ayWUbReOML
— Sun Devil Baseball (@ASU_Baseball) April 2, 2019
The Diamondbacks have played really well on the road, and are 7-0 in their last seven road games vs. teams with a winning record. Arizona lost Paul Goldschmidt this offseason, and many observers predicted that their offense would fall off. But the lineup has been better than anybody expected, and they’ve been especially good recently. They have 125 runs on the year, which is the fifth-highest total in baseball. Given the way they’ve been playing recently, I don’t see why they should be underdogs.
Pirates Getting Exposed
The Pirates started the season off hot, but they’re now struggling. After racing out to a 12-6 start, they’ve now lost three straight games, including the first two games of this series. On Monday they got demolished 12-4, and on Tuesday they lost a tight 2-1 matchup.
I wrote up the second game of this series yesterday and correctly predicted that the Pirates would lose. Despite their hot start, it was always clear to me that they were frauds. They were getting very lucky, and not scoring anywhere near enough runs to justify their record. In fact, the Pirates have one of the worst offenses in the entire league, with just 73 total runs. That’s the third-lowest total in the league, ahead of only the Marlins and Tigers. That’s not sustainable, and the Pirates aren’t going to be able to win too many games if they don’t get great performances from their starters. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, they aren’t too likely to get one here. They’ll be starting Jordan Lyles here, who has been surprisingly excellent.
Through three starts this season, Lyles has a 0.53 ERA. It’s pretty shocking when you look at Lyles’ career history. Lyles has been in the league for over eight years and has a career 5.18 ERA. At no point in his career has he been an above average starter, and it’s very clear this is just a fluke. Anyone can have three good starts, and it’s only a matter of time before he completely falls apart. For now, he’s being overvalued due to the hot start, and there’s a lot of value in fading him.
- 1-7 in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- 0-6 in their last 6 games vs. Diamondbacks
- 7-2 in their last 9 overall
- 6-2 in their last 8 road games
- 7-0 in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning recor
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I love the Diamondbacks here. The Pirates are complete frauds, and I’ve been saying it all year. Lyles can’t possibly continue pitching like this, and he’ll revert to form soon. Arizona is red hot right now, and there’s absolutely no reason they should be underdogs when they have the better lineup and have won seven of nine games.
Prediction: Diamondbacks +110
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the over a lot here. Arizona’s offense is heating up, and they had 12 runs in the first game of this series. Lyles has consistently had an ERA above 5.00 in his career, so it’s clear his hot start is a fluke. He’s going to get hit hard, it’s only a matter of time. Kelly isn’t very good either, so Pittsburgh should be able to score. The over is 7-3 the last ten times these teams have played each other, and both teams should have some success on offense.