Cincinnati Reds (+157) at Pittsburgh Pirates (-167, 6.5 o/u)
Even after winning seven of their last ten, the Pittsburgh Pirates (40-30, 22-11 Home) remain six games behind the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals. Tonight, the Bucks will look to climb a little closer to the Red Birds when they host the road-weary Cincinnati Reds (32-37, 12-23 Away) at PNC Park (7:05 PM Eastern) in the second of their three-game set.
Pittsburgh will send ace Gerrit Cole (11-2, 1.78 ERA) to the mound while the Reds counter with Mike Leake (4-4, 401 ERA). Cole has been on fire lately, winning his last six starts. In his last outing, a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox, he threw 7.0 strong, allowing three hits and two runs while striking out four. Cole hasn’t taken a loss since dropping a decision to the Cubs all the way back in mid-May.
“It’s a testament to how well we’ve played when I take the mound,” Cole said to the Associated Press after beating the White Sox. “It’s more of a team stat than an individual stat.”
The Pirates won the first meeting of the series last night, 7-6. They fell behind 4-0 early, but put up a seven-spot in the fourth and held on from there. Francisco Cervelli hit a three-run homer to provide the bulk of the offense.
The Reds, meanwhile, now find themselves 13.5 back of the Cardinals in the division, and seven behind the Pirates, who currently occupy the first Wild Card spot in the NL. They’ve alternated wins and losses in their last four games, but have really struggled on the road lately, dropping 14 of their last 17.
Leake was solid against the Miami Marlins in his last start, throwing 7.0 innings of two-hit ball en route to a 5-0 win. However, Cole leads the Majors with 11 wins and has been almost unhittable over his last six outings. Add in the Reds struggles away from home and the Pirates look like the better option in this one.
Pick: Pirates (-167).
(Photo credit: Johnmaxmena2 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)