San Francisco is coming off a massive series win and will be hoping to take care of business against lowly Pittsburgh on Saturday night. The Pirates have lost four consecutive games, getting swept by the worst team in baseball earlier this week. San Francisco took three out of four at Dodger Stadium. This story was published prior to Friday night’s series-opener.
Pirates fall back into losing stretchPittsburgh opened the second half of the season with a pair of surprising wins over the Mets, but it has fallen back to its losing ways. The Pirates have lost four straight games heading into this series. Their series against Arizona was probably one of their most disappointing of the year, losing all three games to the Diamondbacks, who have the worst record in baseball. Pittsburgh is in dead-last in the National League Central, trailing Milwaukee by 19.5 games. The playoffs are out of the question for the Pirates. Their offense ranks No. 17 with a team batting average of .239.
Bubba the Bucco pic.twitter.com/jRg40t4Pzi— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) July 22, 2021
Second baseman Adam Frazier leads the team with 122 hits and a red-hot .327 average. Left fielder Bryan Reynolds has 105 hits and is batting .306. He has hit a team-high 17 home runs and is one of two players on the team with double-digit blasts. There has been a massive drop-off in production following those two players, as Kevin Newman is third on the team with 67 hits. Wil Crowe is going to start for Pittsburgh on Saturday. He allowed four runs across 5.1 innings in his last start. Crowe worked into the sixth inning for the first time since May. He is now 1-5 in 13 starts and has a 6.12 ERA.
Giants coming off massive seriesSan Francisco has had its doubters since the beginning of the season, but those doubters are starting to be quieter. The Giants continue to maintain their lead in the NL West, despite the Dodgers and Padres nipping at their heels in the toughest division in baseball. San Francisco picked up three wins in four games at Dodger Stadium earlier this week. It now leads the Dodgers by three games in the standings. The Giants are 5.5 games up on the Padres. Their offense has been solid, ranked No. 11 in the MLB with a team batting average of .244.
Veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford leads the way with 78 hits, including a team-high 18 home runs—he is batting at a .286 clip. However, he is on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain. Catcher Buster Posey has 70 hits and is hitting .326, which is the best mark on the team. Kevin Gausman will start for San Fransisco. He allowed two runs across three innings against the Dodgers on Monday. It was his shortest outing since September of 2019. Gausman has allowed three runs or fewer in 18 of his 19 starts this year, making him one of the top starters in the MLB.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
If taking the better team was the easy choice to making winning bets, it would be easy for everyone to be a professional sports bettor. This is an opportunity to take Pittsburgh on the run-line. San Francisco is coming off a hard-fought series against Los Angeles, so fatigue and concentration could be a factor on Saturday. Crawford is also out of the lineup, so that hurts the Giants' offense. Gausman is coming off his shortest outing in several years, while Crowe was good in his last start. There is not enough of a gap between these offenses for me to lay the price with the Giants.
Full-Game Total Pick
The total correlates with the spread on Saturday night. It’s generally the right play to bet the over with the favorite, but I think it is the opposite in this game. Pittsburgh is going to hang around if its lineup is able to produce runs against Gausman, which I believe it will. The Giants are going to score on Crowe, it’s just a matter of how many. He has gone over in three of his last five starts. Gausman has gone over at a 5-1-2 clip in his last eight starts with four days of rest. The Giants have gone over in four of their last five Saturday games.