The Los Angeles Dodgers (65-53) and Pittsburgh Pirates (64-53) will close out a four-game National League series on Thursday afternoon at PNC Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:05 ET
Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles has regained the top spot in the NL West standings, as the club has won six of its last seven games overall, including the first three games of this series. “We’ve definitely been playing great baseball,” commented Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. The Blue Crew have won their last six games at this ballpark, but haven’t completed a four-game sweep in the Steel City in over 60 years. Los Angeles is 7-14 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this season, with the “over” going 11-9 in that situation.
Dodgers starting pitcher Joe Blanton (8-10, 4.61 ERA) was handed a 7-3 setback on the road by the Miami Marlins in his last start, allowing four runs and six hits over five frames. The right-hander is 4-7 with a 4.77 ERA in 12 road games (11 starts), issuing just nine walks and striking out 57 batters in 71.2 innings. In six career games versus the Pirates, Blanton has tallied a 2-1 record and 3.15 ERA, including an 8-3 home win on June 25 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pittsburgh held a players-only meeting before Wednesday’s 9-3 setback to Los Angeles, which was called by today’s starting pitcher. The Pirates have been dominated by the Dodgers since the 2001 campaign, winning just 23 of 86 meetings. The club needs to focus on not playing from behind in hopes of snapping its current three-game skid, with opponents scoring the first run in 13 of 14 games this month. Pittsburgh is 25-14 in day games this year, with the “under” going 22-14 in those contests.
Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (14-4, 3.32 ERA) had his personal four-game win streak snapped a 5-0 setback at home to the San Diego Padres, allowing five runs (four earned) and nine hits over 5.2 innings. The right-hander is 7-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 11 home outings, surrendering just five home runs in 73.1 combined frames. In eight career starts versus the Dodgers, Burnett has compiled a 3-3 record and 3.38 ERA.
Sports bettors will likely play the total in this contest, with the OVER going 40-18-2 in the last 60 meetings in this series.