Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Prediction: Pittsburgh +130 odds (May 4th 2013)
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While it may change as the season unfolds, there’s no question that right now, the Pirates are the superior team in this matchup.
Pittsburgh rolls into Saturday’s game having won 10 of its last 14 games. The Nats’ on the other hand have won just five times in their last 13 contests.
Of course, Saturday’s price has everything to do with the fact that Washington is handing the ball to its ace, Stephen Strasburg.
With that being said, Strasburg has been snake-bitten so far this season, and until the Nats’ start giving him some consistent offensive support, I’ll continue to consider him prime fade material at the lofty prices being offered.
Strasburg has actually pitched quite well over his last four outings, but that only leads me to believe we may see some regression on Saturday. And there’s little reason to think the Nats’ would be able to bail him out should that type of storyline unfold.
Washington has scored a grand total of 11 runs in Strasburg’s six starts this season. The Nats’ bats have gone silent lately, producing three runs or less in six straight games.
The Pirates will counter with Jeff Locke. He’s quietly gotten the job done over his last two outings, giving up only five hits over 13 shutout innings. The Buccos won those two contests by a combined 11-0 score, on the road against the Phillies and Cardinals.
But Locke is only part of the equation today. The Pirates have everything clicking right now, having scored 35 runs over their last six games, not to mention their outstanding bullpen, which has posted a collective 1.97 ERA here at home this season. By contrast, the Nats’ ‘pen has recorded a 4.93 ERA on the road.
The Buccos have taken five of the last seven meetings in this series, and should be able to ride their positive wave of momentum to another ‘upset’ win on Saturday afternoon. Take Pittsburgh (1*).