Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
When: Sunday, May 26, 2019, 1:35 pm Eastern
We have a National League contest to consider for Sunday afternoon when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates meet under threatening skies and temps in the low eighties for game three of their three-game series. This preview was written prior to the conclusion of Saturday’s slate of games and all opinions are based on the conclusion of Friday night’s action.
Los Angeles is first in the NL West and plans for right-hander Kenta Maeda to get the start for the Dodgers. Pittsburgh is third in the NL Central and right-hander Chris Archer is scheduled for the Sunday start for Pittsburgh. I’m the Flash and will be discussing this game with you today.
Dodgers First in NL West
The Dodgers reside in first place in the NL West and has scored a National League-leading 267 runs and leads the National League with a plus 70 run differential this season. Cody Bellinger leads the National League with a .387 batting average and has blasted 18 bombs with 46 RBI this season. Starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu leads the National League with a 1.52 ERA and is second in the National League with six wins this season. These are two of many reasons as to why Los Angeles is leading the NL West by six games over the San Diego Padres.
The Pirates used an opener. The Dodgers brought the grand opening. Freese's grand slam and an 11th straight Dodger quality start highlight a 10-2 win. https://t.co/Yyb5x17yG2
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) May 25, 2019
Los Angeles isn’t reporting any significant injuries and Kenta Maeda is due to come off the ten-day IL for his Sunday start against Pittsburgh.
Maeda (5-2, 3.51 ERA) has lasted five or more innings in eight of his nine starts this season. Maeda has a 3.51 ERA this season but his 4.20 xFIP along with a 1.19 WHIP suggests a little luck may be part of the Maeda success. Maeda strikes out 9.12, walks 3.51 and allows 1.05 bombs per nine innings pitched this season.
Pittsburgh hasn’t had that much success against righties this season but does boast a 20 percent strikeout rate that could keep Maeda from racking up the free outs he has enjoyed this season. Pittsburgh has a .313 OBP and an eight percent walk rate and that could cause Maeda and his over three walks per game some trouble but the .156 ISO could also be problematic for Maeda on Sunday.
Pirates Minus 50 Run Differential
Pittsburgh is third in the NL Central and has allowed 50 more runs than they’ve scored this season. The Pirates bullpen has much to do with that big number as their 4.62 ERA suggests. The Pirates bullpen has blown eight of their 23 save opportunities this season and is eighth in the National League with 26 holds. Split the blown saves in half and the Pirates are first in the Central rather than 3.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central standings.
Friday night final. pic.twitter.com/CPBKZRowXD
— Pirates (@Pirates) May 25, 2019
The Pirates injury report is long but the most significant would be catcher Francisco Cervelli being listed as day to day with a chest injury. Cervelli has pedestrian offensive stats but is Pittsburgh’s starting catcher so it’s a big loss when he isn’t in the lineup.
Archer (1-4, 5.55 ERA) has had his struggles this season and has lasted five innings or more in five of his seven starts this season. Archer has lost four consecutive starts and his 5.55 ERA is nearly two points higher than his career ERA. His 5.05 xFIP suggests maybe Archer has had some bad luck along the way but it’s still less than ideal for a pitcher with his abilities and career numbers.
The Dodgers 20 percent strikeout rate might get a bump as Archer strikes out 9.34 per nine but their 10 percent walk rate and .208 ISO could be extremely problematic for Archer and his 4.54 walks and 1.77 home runs allowed per nine innings pitched as does his 1.43 WIP.
- Pirates are 0-4 in Archer’s last 4 starts vs. National League West.
- Pirates are 0-5 in Archer’s last 5 starts.
- Pirates are 0-5 in Archer’s last 5 starts on grass.
- Dodgers are 5-0 in their last 5 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
- Dodgers are 7-1 in their last 8 vs. National League Central.
- Dodgers are 6-1 in their last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
If you are a struggling pitcher, the Dodgers offense is the last thing you want to see and I suspect Archer will get his strikeouts and also get hammered by the Dodgers and I suspect we will see a few balls flying out of PNC Park on Sunday afternoon. Maeda is coming off the IL but he wasn’t there long enough to miss more than one start and should be good to go on Sunday. Maybe Maeda allows a couple of runs as his 3.81 career road xFIP suggests but we should Cash with the Flash on Sunday playing the Dodgers to beat the Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
Full-Game Total Pick
I like Maeda but he does have some interesting road splits and Archer is struggling no matter where he pitches, so I expect some runs to be scored on Sunday as this trend seems to validate my thoughts about the total;
- Over is 8-1 in the last 9 meetings.
Cash with the Flash and play the over on Sunday!!