Pirates vs. Blue Jays, 8-13-2017 - Prediction & Preview

Game Snapshot

#979 Pittsburgh Pirates
vs.
#980 Toronto Blue Jays

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Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates (58-58) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (54-61)

MLB Baseball:  Sunday, August 13th, 1:07 pm EST

Chad Kuhl (5-7, 4.53 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (5-8, 3.77 ERA)

Line:  Toronto -130/Pittsburgh +120

Total: 9

The Pirates close out a three game series on Sunday in Toronto against the Blue Jays.  Pittsburgh is playing some great baseball at the right time, and they’ve climbed back into the division race, trailing the Cubs by only three games.  They have won two in a row, five of six, and seven of 10.  They won the opener of this series 4-2 on Friday night.

The Blue Jays should for all intents and purposes be out of the wild card race, but it’s so weak in the AL this year, they they are only 4.5 games out of the second and all important wild card spot.  I think they have too many teams to pass, but 4.5 games really isn’t all that much with 47 games remaining.

Kuhl gets the call for the Pirates

Chad Kuhl will be on the mound on Sunday, taking on the Blue Jays.  This is his second full year and after starting only 14 games last year, Sunday will be his 24th start of the year.  Even with all those starts, he only has a record of 5-7, having many no decisions as win.  In fact, 40% of his wins this year have come in his last two starts.

He’s looked good in both, pitching really well two starts back when he went seven innings without allowing a run.  He came back and allowed three earned runs, which was enough as the Pirates beat the Tigers 6-3.  He’s been important the last two starts and the Pirates will need him if they are to keep going up in the standings.

J.A. Happ only has five wins

J.A. Happ only has five wins as well, not having nearly the year that he did last year.  He was fantastic last year, finishing with a 20-4 mark and an ERA just over three.  This year, his ERA is still pretty solid, entering Sunday at 3.77, but he hasn’t gotten anywhere near the run support that he got last year.  He’s also been hurt a lot, and has only made 16 starts.

He’s pitched well in his last two starts, giving up only two earned runs over 12.2 innings and winning both starts.  He’s allowed only 10 hits during those starts, while striking out 15 batters.  He looks to be returning to form, but it’s likely too late for the Blue Jays.  Let’s see if he’s got another good start in him versus a hot Pirate team.

MLB Trends:

The Pittsburgh Pirates are:

  • 37-14 in their last 51 interleague games vs. a team with a losing record.
  • 6-2 in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a losing record.
  • 14-3 in their last 17 interleague road games vs. a team with a losing record.

The Toronto Blue Jays are:

  • 1-4 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing record.
  • 0-5 in their last 5 vs. a team with a losing record.

Last year, the Blue Jays are a big favorite in this game, being at home with Happ on the mound.  He hasn’t been great this year, however, and I like the way the Pirates are playing right now.   Let’s take Pittsburgh.

Pick: Pittsburgh

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Big B

Known as Big B since his time at UCSB, Brian O’Sullivan is a novelist, screenwriter, & poker player who follows sports religiously. His betting style would be considered that of a contrarian, and he likes to bet against the general public. It seems to be working. You can find him at the coffee shops of Vegas, hanging with his family in SF, or at the bars of LA.