Los Angeles Dodgers (87-34; 57-60-4 O/U) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (59-64; 51-66-6 O/U)
MLB: Monday, August 21, 2017 at 7:05pm EST
Line: Los Angeles -165/Pittsburgh +149
The Pittsburgh Pirates will host the Los Angeles Dodgers as the clubs begin a four game series Monday night from PNC Park. The Dodgers will give the nod to 26-year old left-hander Alex Wood, and the Pirates will counter with 26-year old right-hander Gerrit Cole. The Dodgers tallied a three game sweep against the Pirates earlier this season.
Wood Silences White Sox, Continues to Shine
Alex Wood will get the call for the 22nd time of the season, targeting his third win of the month. Wood was outstanding once again in his previous performance, limiting the White Sox to one run in seven innings and finished with the no decision. The young left-hander is having a phenomenal season and is showing no signs of slowing down, currently featuring a minuscule 2.30 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP accompanied with a 14-1 record in 117.1 innings logged. He faced the Pirates early in the season and hurled five scoreless innings, and owns a 2-2 record with a terrific 2.61 ERA in 38 innings against Pittsburgh. Andrew McCutchen is 4 for 16 with two RBI’s against Wood, while Josh Harrison is also 4 for 16, and Starling Marte is 4 for 13. Justin Turner is having the most productive month of his season, already driving in 15 runs along with six home runs. The 32-year old third baseman is having a tremendous season, ranking second in the Majors with a .344 average to go with 17 home runs and 56 RBI’s. Turner is 2 for 9 with one RBI against the Pirates this season.
The Dodgers potent lineup is scoring an average of 5.12 runs per game, ranking them sixth in the Majors, and feature a .258 team batting average. The Los Angeles pitching has been dominant all season, boasting a Major League best 3.10 team ERA.
Cole Aims for only Third Home Win of Season
Gerrit Cole will take the mound for the 26th time of the season, eying his 11th victory. Cole allowed four runs including three home runs in six innings to the Brewers last time out, and escaped with the no decision. Overall, the Pirates ace is having a strong season, posting a 10-8 record with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 153.2 innings of work. Cole owns a 3-1 career record against the Dodgers, however his ERA is at 5.22 in five career starts. Yasiel Puig is 5 for 9 with one RBI against Cole, while Corey Seager is 2 for 6, and Joc Pederson is 4 for 7. Josh Bell continues to drive in runs with regularity, collecting nine RBI’s over his last eight games. The 25-year old first baseman is rounding into a big threat at the plate, currently sporting a .258 average with 20 home runs and 68 RBI’s. Bell is 0 for 9 against the Dodgers this season.
The Pirates are currently averaging 4.27 runs per game, ranking them down at 26th in the Majors and are hitting .248 as a team. The Pittsburgh pitching has been decent, posting a 4.32 team ERA, positioning them 13th in the Major Leagues.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are:
- 52-9 in their last 61 games overall.
- 5-1 in their last 6 road games against a team with a winning home record.
- 21-5 in their last 26 road games against a team with a losing record.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are:
- 1-6 in their last 7 games overall.
- 1-4 in their last 5 games against the Dodgers.
- 5-11 in their last 16 games against the NL West.
I am taking the Dodgers on the run line to get more value however my stronger play is on the total. I can’t justify taking the Pirates even with Cole on the mound. Cole owns a poor 5.22 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers, and he has only won two home games all season. Furthermore, Wood continues to stifle his opponents, allowing only four runs over his last three starts (19 innings), and his numbers are even better on the road where he features a 6-0 record. The Pirates are a low scoring team as it is, so I expect Wood to shut them down. Seven of the last nine Dodgers wins with Wood on the mound have come by at least two runs, so I am confident taking them on the run line.
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5
Wood continues to silence his opponents and Cole has also been very consistent. I expect Wood, who owns a 1.72 ERA on the road, to silence the low scoring Pirates, and the under is 5-1 in the Dodgers last six games in the first game of a series. Cole has allowed three or fewer runs in seven out of his last eight starts, and the under is 5-1 in Cole’s last six home starts.