MLB Betting: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

MLB Betting:  Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

The Cincinnati Reds are no doubt very happy to be out of St. Louis–they’re coming off of back to back losses to the Cardinals by a combined 15-1 score. They should be able to get back on the right track on Friday as they face the erratic Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of a weekend series. The Reds and Cards will enter Friday action tied atop the NL Central with identical 5-4 records. Pittsburgh has slumped at the start with a 3-6 record.

Cincinnati’s two game implosion in St. Louis is somewhat misleading. Things were in good shape until late in the middle game of the series–Brandon Arroyo was cruising along and retired 15 straight batters until the Cards finally broke through. In the series finale the usually consistent Homer Bailey simply fell apart in one disastrous inning. The Reds should have a much easier time of things against a Pittsburgh team that lost five of their first six games before taking two of three at Arizona earlier in the week. The Reds have shown a tendency to bounce back strong over the past few seasons–Cincinnati is 90-61 +20.3 units after a loss over the past three seasons. Starter Mike Leake may not be a Cy Young candidate but he’s a competent pitcher who should look even better against a sputtering Pittsburgh offense that ranks #29 in runs scored and is dead last in team batting average with a pitiful .153 mark.

AJ Burnett isn’t a bad pitcher but has suffered from a complete lack of run support dating back to last season. Burnett has a workmanlike 3.27 ERA this season but with the Pirates scoring only a single run in his starts that won’t get it done. The Reds haven’t been as strong at the plate so far this season as they’re capable of but they’re a veritable ‘Murderer’s Row’ compared to their opponent here. This has been a fairly even series over the past three years but with the Reds looking for a ‘bounceback’ effort after a pitiful showing the past two games in St. Louis and facing a Pittsburgh team that simply isn’t hitting we’ll gladly take them at a ‘pick’em’ price.