MLB Predictions 2012: San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

The San Francisco Giants (45-38) and Pittsburgh Pirates (46-36) will open up a three-game National League series on Friday night at PNC Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET

San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates

San Francisco Giants SP Barry Zito is 1-3 with a 3.25 ERA in six career starts versus the Pirates

San Francisco blew a late-inning lead on Thursday night and was ultimately swept in its three-game series against the Washington Nationals.  “These guys are hot,” commented Giants pitcher Matt Cain.  The Giants have fallen back into second place in the NL West standings, as they continue to struggle away from AT&T Park, dropping eight of their last 11 road games.  San Francisco is 4-5 as a road underdog of +125 to +150, with the “over” going 6-3 in those contests.

Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito (6-6, 3.84 ERA) has been handed a loss in four of his last five outings, including a 2-1 setback at home to the Cincinnati Reds, giving up one run and five hits over six frames.  The left-hander is 2-3 with a 4.93 ERA in seven road starts, issuing 19 walks and collecting 22 strikeouts in 38.1 combined innings.  In six career starts versus the Pirates, Zito has registered a 1-3 record and 3.25 ERA.

Pittsburgh continues to play great baseball and has won eight of its last nine games, while also capturing 16 of its last 19 games at this ballpark.  “It means we’re not going to sneak up on anybody anymore,” commented Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.  The Pirates have gone 10-1-1 in their last 12 series, winning each of their last six played at PNC Park.  It all starts with the pitching staff, which ranked second in the majors coming into last night’s game with a 2.43 ERA at home.  Pittsburgh is 14-8 versus left-handed starters, with the “under” going 13-9 in those games.

Pirates starting pitcher Erik Bedard (4-9, 4.57 ERA) has watched the club drop his last four outings, including a pair of losses on the road to the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals, allowing nine runs and 16 hits over 10.2 innings in that span.  The left-hander is 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA in seven home starts, and hasn’t allowed a home run in 39 combined frames.  He made his only career start against the Giants on June 12, 2004, allowing two unearned runs in 5.2 innings in a no-decision effort.

Bettors will likely back the Pirates due to their 4-1 record in Bedard’s last five starts as a home favorite of -110 to -150, while the Giants are 1-4 in Zito’s last five outings as a road underdog.

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