Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#903 Arizona Diamondbacks 7.5 vs.
#904 Pittsburgh Pirates -105
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 7:05pm EDT
Written by Sporty Jordy

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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: April 23, 2019, PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA, 7:05 PM ET

The ongoing National League showdown between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Pittsburgh Pirates continues in Tuesday’s primetime MLB action. After losing to the Chicago Cubs, the Diamondbacks are hell-bent on a bounce-back series against the current No. 1-ranked team in the NL Central. The Cubs are also the last team to take a three-game series over the Pirates. Luke Weaver will take the mound for the Diamondbacks against Pittsburgh’s Trevor Williams.

Pirates’ recent run is no joke

There is a sudden urge to want to bat down the Pirates’ recent run of success, but those feelings can typically be confronted by statistics. The Pirates’ pitching rotation has the lowest ERA in the league, and opponents facing them have the lowest batting average. They’re getting things done by digging in and playing good defense—you know, the old fashioned way.

The skepticism surrounding the Pirates is mostly due to the fact they aren’t a splashy team, and their recent wins came against less than stellar opposition. There was no confetti for beating the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants. It’s more about how the Pirates are winning games that’s really attracting attention.

They’ve been shutting down offenses and out-grinding their opponents.

That obviously all seems beside the point after Monday’s crushing defeat at the hands of the Diamondbacks. The 12-4 loss at home likely stung more than the 10-0 loss earlier in the season to the Chicago Cubs. At least the loss to the Cubs was on the road with no expectations. Yet, the moment the Pirates started to generate a little momentum behind them they got splashed with a cold dose of reality in the form of an offensive explosion by the Diamondbacks.

After being ahead 4-1, the Pirates’ bullpen imploded with Kyle Crick and Nick Burdi giving up a total of nine earned runs and one homer in less than one full inning. Ugly doesn’t even begin to describe those pitching performances. Starter Joe Musgrove started the downward spiral by giving up five hits and three runs.

Burdi left the game with what looked like a potentially serious right arm injury—the same arm he had Tommy John surgery on two years ago.

Offensive consistency key for the Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks had an opportunity to put together a nice run after sweeping the Atlanta Braves on the road, but their bats were shut down by the surging Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Despite averaging 5.05 runs per game, the Diamondbacks were held to only one run in two of the three games in the series. They exploded for six runs in Game 2, while looking virtually helpless on offense in the other two games.

Their ability, or inability, to get their bats going early and often will make or break them in a tough road series against the Pirates.

It’s still better late than never, right?

After falling behind early in Game 1 against the Pirates, the Diamondbacks exploded for 11 runs in the seventh and eighth innings. A slew of singles combined with Eduardo Escobar and Christian Walker’s home runs propelled the team to back-to-back monstrous run-scoring innings.

Unlike the Pirates, the bullpen for the Diamondbacks was stellar when Zack Godley stepped down from the mound. After giving up four runs in the first five innings, the Diamondbacks held the Pirates scoreless the rest of the way.

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The Pirates had the opportunity to set the tone for the series at home, but they looked like a team that had no way to respond in the face of a little adversity late in the game. Once the onslaught began, all hell broke loose with the Diamondbacks raining runs on one of the best defenses in baseball.

Even if Trevor Williams makes up for Musgrove’s meltdown, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for the Pirates to get back up for this game after losing the way they did. They had the game well in hand before giving up 11 runs down the stretch and ultimately blowing it. The Pirates’ recent run is no joke, but neither is the Diamondbacks’ offense. They are a top-15 team in on-base percentage (.328), along with being fourth in batting average (.265) and eighth in slugging percentage (.462).

It’s a solid lineup capable of putting even more pressure on the Pirates’ defense in Game 2. They won’t score 12 points in the second outing, but they’ll do enough damage to put the Pirates in danger of getting swept on their home field. I’m taking the Diamondbacks in this game.

Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks (+100)

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The over is 6-2 in the last eight head-to-head meetings between the Pirates and Diamondbacks. This series is headed in a completely different direction than the typically defensive-dominance the Pirates are used to seeing. The Diamondbacks aren’t intimidated by their pitching, and their late comeback rally should only fuel them in the rematch. Give me the over in this game.

Prediction: Over (7.5)

Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

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