NL Betting: Pittsburgh Pirates at Florida Marlins

Pittsburgh Pirates (8-10) AT Florida Marlins (10-6)
April 21, 2011 at 7:10 PM EST
Opening Moneyline:  FLA -145 / PIT +125
Current Moneyline:  FLA -127 / PIT +117
Opening Total:  9
Current Total:  9

SP:  PIT- James McDonald (R); FLA- Chris Volstad (R)

The Pirates have been pretty good on the road and horrible at home

Though Pittsburgh is just 8-10, they are 7-5 on the road, and 1-5 at home.  Fortunately, in that sense, this is a road game.  They are facing a 43 year record for futility tonight, as they have been shut out in the past two games and this third shut out would be the first since 1968.  The Marlins won the first two games of this series by a score of 6-0 in each game and they’ll be sending Chris Volstad to the mound tonight.

Volstad (0-1, 5.59 ERA) has yet to win a game.  Last season he went 6-0 with a 3.75 ERA in his last 8 outings.  April 12th against the Braves he gave up 5 runs in 4 2/3rds innings as the Marlins lost 5-0.  “There are some issues mechanically that he’s doing,” Marlins Pitching coach St. Claire said. “We watched some video. We’ll attack them on the side.”  Volstad, who stand 6’8″, is 1-2 with a 7.07 ERA in his three starts against the Florida Marlins.  Volstad’s PECOTA projection forecasts a 9-11 record this season with a 5.03 ERA.

Pittsburgh will be playing without Andrew McCutchen, who has taken a personal leave.  Jose Tabata took his place in the lineup, but is hitting 0 of 7 for the series.

Florida has been relying on the old fashioned way of scoring run with a lineup devoid of power.  Chris Coghlan had 3 RBIs on Wednesday, two of which were off a single hit in the first inning.  The Marlins have the lowest home run total in the NL with only 8.

“We’ve been playing very aggressively on the basepaths,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “And tonight was a good example. We’re not showing the power that we used to show in previous years, but we’re compensating that with aggressive baserunning.”

James McDonald will take the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  McDonald is 0-1 with a 7.47 ERA and last outing he gave up 7 runs over 4 1/3rds innings, as the Pirates lost 11-2 to Cincinnati.  He has not had any quality starts (less than 7 IP and no more than 3 ER).  He did pitch well in his only outing against the Marlins in his career, though.  On August 16th he gave up only 1 run over 7 innings and the Pirates won that game 7-1.

If the Marlins do complete the sweep tonight it will be the first time since the 2002 season that they have swept the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Some betting trends:

The total has gone UNDER in 15 of Pittsburgh’s last 21 games and the Pirates are 3-7 SU in their last 10 games.  The total has also gone UNDER in 12 of their last 15 on the road and the Pirates are 1-8 SU in their last 9 against the Florida Marlins.  The total has gone UNDER in all 5 of Pittsburgh’s last 5 games against the Marlins and the total has also gone UNDER in 5 of the past 5 road meetings with Florida.  Pittsburgh is 1-7 SU in their last 8 road games against the Marlins.

The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Florida’s last 8 games and the Marlins are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games.  The Marlins are 4-1 SU in their last 5 at home and they are 8-1 SU in their last 9 games against the Pirates.  The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Florida’s last 5 games against the Pirates.  The total has also gone UNDER in 5 of the last 5 games at home against the Pirates, while the Marlins are 7-1 SU in their last 8 games when playing at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates have the better pitcher taking the mound in this game, but find themselves underdogs to the Marlins, whose offensive production has been vastly superior and they are favored to pull off the three game sweep tonight.

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