A pair of National League teams trying to stay in the wild card race continue a series out in the city by the bay. The Pittsburgh Pirates play the second game of a four game series against the San Francisco Giants Friday night. Pittsburgh won the rubber game of their three game set on the road against the Rockies, prevailing 4-3 Wednesday. San Francisco was swept in a two game interleague set at home by Houston, falling 2-1 in the finale Tuesday. The pitching matchup for Thursday’s series opener saw Ivan Nova take the mound for Pittsburgh: he faced off with San Francisco’s Andrew Suarez. First pitch in the contest was scheduled for 10:15 pm ET.
Pittsburgh Pirates Fighting in NL Wild Card Picture
Pittsburgh took two of three on the road over Colorado as they won the rubber game of the set. The Pirates improved to 59-56 on the season: they entered Thursday 7.5 games behind the Cubs and five games behind Atlanta for the second wild card. Adam Frazier had three hits for Pittsburgh while Colin Moran (run, RBI) and Corey Dickerson (RBI) each had two hits in the win. Chris Archer (1-0) picked up the win for the Pirates in his second start for the team: he allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts over five innings. Felipe Vazquez threw 1.1 scoreless frames to record his 26th save of the season.
Trevor Williams takes the ball for his 23rd start of the season for the Pirates in this contest. He is 9-8 with a 3.88 ERA, a 1.267 WHIP, 40 walks and 80 strikeouts over 116 innings of work this season. Williams took the loss in his last start, which came at home against St. Louis Sunday. He threw five innings, allowing two runs on nine hits with no walks and three strikeouts in a 2-1 Pirates defeat. Williams is 2-1 with a 1.06 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP, five walks and nine strikeouts over 17 innings in his last three starts. He makes his third career start against the Giants in this contest: he has no record with a 2.25 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, four walks and five strikeouts over 12 innings of action. Williams didn’t factor in the decision in his lone outing at AT&T Park, which came on July 2, 2017: he allowed two runs on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts over six innings in an eventual 5-3 Pirates loss.
San Francisco Giants Battling Through Injuries
San Francisco dropped both games at home against the Astros in low scoring affairs as the bullpen couldn’t get it done. The Giants fell to 57-58 on the season, entering Thursday 6.5 games behind Arizona in the NL West and seven games behind the Braves for the second wild card spot. San Francisco had only four hits in the game with Brandon Crawford scoring the lone run on a RBI single by Chase d’Arnaud in the second inning. Madison Bumgarner pitched brilliantly while recording a no-decision: he threw seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. Ray Black (1-1) took the loss as he allowed two runs on three hits with two strikeouts in his one inning of action.
Derek Holland is on the mound for his 26th appearance and 22nd start of the season for the Giants in this contest. He is 5-8 with a 3.88 ERA, a 1.251 WHIP, 43 walks and 120 strikeouts over 118.1 innings of work this season. Holland didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came Sunday on the road against Arizona. He threw 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts in a 3-2 San Francisco victory. Holland has no record, a 2.76 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP, five walks and 15 strikeouts over 16.1 innings in his last three starts. He earned the win in his only career start against the Pirates, which came on the road earlier this year on May 13: he threw 6.1 scoreless innings, allowing four hits with five walks and seven strikeouts in a 5-0 Giants win. Holland is 2-3 with a 3.65 ERA, a 1.076 WHIP, 14 walks and 63 strikeouts over 56.2 innings in 12 career appearances, nine starts, at AT&T Park.
- Giants are 5-1 in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- Giants are 16-6 in their last 22 home games vs. a right-handed starter
- Pirates are 2-5 in Williams’ last 7 road starts vs. a team with a losing record
- Pirates are 2-6 in Williams’ last 8 Friday starts
- Pirates are 1-5 in Williams’ last 6 starts vs. National League West
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams are hanging in on the fringes of the wild card race but they need to start picking up some wins. Both teams are fourth in their respective divisions coming into this contest and have some work to do to make up ground in the playoff picture. Williams has pitched well this season but the Pirates were just 26-27 on the road entering Thursday’s opener. The Pirates have 29 of their last 47 games on the road, which is a tough task for them. San Francisco has been good at home and they get the upper hand in this one as they try to gain ground in the playoff picture.
Prediction: Pick: San Francisco Giants -125
Full-Game Total Pick
The Giants were involved in a pair of extremely low scoring games against Houston though that can be attributed to two things: the depth of the Houston pitching staff and the fact that the Astros were minus Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and George Springer. Pittsburgh had a decent showing on the road against the Rockies and now has to deal with the Giants. Both starting pitchers have been on a bit of a roll of late but can they maintain that momentum in this contest?
The over is 5-0-1 in the Pirates’ last 6 Friday games, 4-0-1 in their last 5 during game 2 of a series, 4-1-1 in their last 6 games vs. a left-handed starter and 4-1 in Williams’ last five starts. San Francisco has seen the over go 4-1 in Giants last 5 vs. National League Central foes, 4-1 in their last 5 games vs. a right-handed starter and 4-1-1 in Holland’s last 6 starts with 4 days of rest. The teams have combined to see the over go 6-1-3 in their last 10 meetings in San Francisco: look for this one to go over the total as well.
Prediction: Over 8
Full-Game Prop Bet
McCutchen has been swinging a better bat of late: after hitting just .227 in July, he’s gone seven for 26 in the month of August. He’s looking to show that his former team made a mistake in dealing him in the offseason, something he’s failed to do so far as he’s hit just .222 (four for 18) with six strikeouts, though he has doubled three times. This might be a good chance for him to put together a decent game with it not being a normal Pirates’ starter on the hill.
Prediction: Andrew McCutchen Total Hits+Runs+RBIs Over 2 -120
First Five Innings Side Pick
Pittsburgh flipped their starting pitchers for this one as Clay Holmes gets the nod instead of Trevor Williams, who was pushed back to Saturday. The Pirates are trying to hang in the playoff race but they have an uphill climb, as do the Giants. Both teams have been inconsistent this season and with Holmes, who has appeared in four games and started two this season, on the mound in an effort to give the Pirates’ rotation more rest, you have to wonder if they’re impacting their chances. San Francisco has no familiarity with Holmes but they should be able to get the edge halfway home.
Prediction: San Francisco Giants -125
First Five Innings Total Bet
The Pirates won the opening game of the set 10-5 but most of the offense came later in the contest. Pittsburgh held a 3-0 edge after the second inning and the score was just 3-2 after five frames. The Pirates went on to tally five in the seventh and two in the eighth while the Giants plated three in the last of the ninth. With that said, Holmes is an unproven commodity and Holland is a streaky kind of guy. This one could easily end up over the 4.5 mark.
Prediction: Over 4.5 -110
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
Both teams are up and down when it comes to putting runs on the board early in contests. Pittsburgh has tallied only 60 first inning runs this season while the Giants have been even worse in that department, scoring 53 times in the opening frame. Holland has a 4.29 ERA and a .239 batting average against in the opening inning this season. This one could go either way but it seems a safe bet that this one goes to the second inning scoreless.
Prediction: No to Will There Be a Score in the First Inning -125