Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres Betting Preview

Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres Betting Preview

The Pittsburgh Pirates seek a second straight series win on their trip out West during Sunday’s finale against the San Diego Padres at 4:10 p.m. ET. The two have split the first two games of the series, the Padres winning Friday, 4-3, and Pittsburgh winning Saturday, 4-2.

Pittsburgh (19-26) is coming off a series win in Colorado and is finding some momentum against NL West teams who were part of the best division in baseball through the first six weeks. It’s a key development for a team that was threatening to slip to the basement of the NL Central, even below the Cincinnati Reds.

Sunday, the Pirates give the ball to Roansy Contreras, who started the year as a reliever. He is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA, and 15 strikeouts in 12.2 innings pitched. He got his first start on Tuesday in Colorado, going five shutout innings while allowing three hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

San Diego (29-17) turns to rookie MacKenzie Gore, who is 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 35 innings. The southpaw was so impressive while awaiting Blake Snell’s season debut that the Padres kept Gore on the big league roster and are using a six-man rotation.

The Pirates are moneyline underdogs at +175, with the Padres favorites at -215. The Pirates are +1.5 (-125) on the run line against the Padres as -1.5 (+105). The over/under is set at 7.

So far, 78% of the moneyline bets are on the Padres, and 52% are on the over.

But the under is 4-0-1 in the last five meetings between the two in San Diego and 5-2-1 in the last eight regardless of location. Pittsburgh is 1-4 in the last five games against the Padres.

Strong Outing

Of late, Pittsburgh has won games when it has pitched to a high level. The Pirates, aside from a 10-5 game in Colorado, have not scored more than four runs since May 11, so their pitching staff has been relied on to be elite. Yet they are 6-10 in that span.

In those six wins, they have allowed 11 runs or 1.83 per contest. That is much better than the third worst mark in baseball at 5.35 runs per game for the season.

Pittsburgh’s offense ranks 28th in runs per game, scoring 3.49 per contest. The Bucs’ .223 average and .647 OPS rank 27th and 28th, respectively. Ke’Bryan Hayes has been impressive with a .283 average and a team-high 11 doubles.

Same Strengths

As good as the Pirates’ pitching has been in wins, it’s been that way all season long for the Padres. They are fifth, giving up 3.72 runs per game this season. They also limit teams to a .216 average and .630 OPS, which are both the third-best mark in baseball.

The offense is middle of the road at 4.26 runs per game, ranking 16th. Manny Machado, who is questionable Sunday, has carried that unit hitting .357 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs — all best on the team. Eric Hosmer is hitting .324 with 24 RBIs and has nine doubles and four home runs to aid efforts.

Pirates/Padres Betting Prediction

There isn’t a large sample size on Contreras as a starter. He started 65 of 68 appearances in the minors, though, and averaged 5.2 innings pitched per appearance. That includes five starts at triple-A Indianapolis.

But Gore was the No. 3 pick in 2017 and is performing as anticipated, perhaps even higher than expected. Especially if Machado goes, Padres moneyline and -1.5 (+105) are the play.

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