The Pittsburgh Pirates took game one of the series with the Oakland Athletics and will be looking to bring their winning streak to seven games today. It's time to continue our MLB odds series with an Athletics-Pirates prediction, pick, and how to watch.
The Athletics come into this game after their 15th straight loss on the road. They took the early 3-0 lead in the game, but the Pirates scored three in the six to take a one-run lead. The Athelietcs tied it up in the eighth, but a sacrifice fly would give the Pirates a lead they would not surrender in the bottom of the inning. The Athletics have now just won two of their last 18 games, sitting with a 12-50 record on the season.
Meanwhile, the Pirates come in riding a six-game win streak, including a sweep of the Cardinals over the weekend. They are 32-27 on the season and are in first place in the NL Central.
Here are the Athletics-Pirates MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Ahtletics-Pirates Odds
Oakland Athletics: +1.5 (+105)
Pittsburgh Pirates: -1.5 (-126)
Over: 8.5 (-120)
Under: 8.5 (-102)
How To Watch Athletics vs. Pirates
Time: 7:05 PM ET/ 4:05 PM PT
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Why The Athletics Could Cover The Spread
The Athletics are on pace to be the worst team in MLB history. Since 1901, the New York Mets have had the most losses, with 120 losses in the year. The Athletics are on pace for 131. The worst winning percentage since then belongs to the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics, at .235. The Athletics' current winning percentage is .194. To get to a lower winning percentage than that, you would have to go back to the 1899 Cleveland Spiders in the National League. They went 20-134 that year, with a .130 winning percentage. The team would fold after the season. The Athletics will not be folding after this year but will be set up to move to Las Vegas, where they hope to find more success.
The reason for so many losses this year is their work on the road. They are just 5-26 on the road and are on pace to lose 68 times on the road this year alone. To put that into perspective, the Rays are on pace to lose just 50 times all year. It has not been all bad for the Athletics away from home though. Brent Rooker is hitting .273 on the road this year, with 22 RBIs and seven home runs. Meanwhile, Ryan Noda is hitting .288 on the road with ten doubles and scored 15 times this year. Run production on the road has been difficult this year though. Only Rooker and Shea Landeliers with 12 RBIs, have double-digit runs batted in on the season on the road.
The A's are sending James Kaprielian to the mound today. He is currently 0-6 on the season with an 8.12 ERA. He has been better in his last four starts, after spending some time in the bullpen. In the last four starts, he is 0-4, but his ERA is down to 4.57. He did have one start in that he gave up just one run in five innings, but in each of the others, he gave up three or more.
Why The Pirates Could Cover The Spread
The Pirates produced just enough offense to win again last night. In their last three wins, they have scored 11 runs and won each game by just one run. They are middle of the pack in most categories on offense. They are 19th in runs scored, while sitting 17th in batting average and 12th in on-base percentage. Last night it was Andrew McCutchen that drove in the clutch RBI. He drove in two runs in the game and walked three times on the night. His on-base numbers have been solid this year. While he is hitting .271 on the year, his OBP is .373, and near .400 over the last month of games.
Ke'Bryan Hayes is also on a little bit of a hot streak. In the four games this month he has scored three times, driven in five runs, all while hitting .533. This is a great turnaround for Hayes, as he barely hit over .200 in May. Bryan Reynolds is also starting to pick up production. After not driving in a run in the first 14 games of May, he has driven in 14 runs in the 15 games since. That included one last night.
Mitch Keller comes to the mound in this one. He is 7-1 on the season with a 3.24 ERA. He has been striking out a lot of batters as of late. In each of his last seven starts, Keller has struck out eight or more batters. Right now FanDuel has Keller to strike out 8+ batters at +140, which may be worth a play in this one. He has been giving up runs as of late though. He has given up ten runs in his last 12 innings of work. In the four starts before that, he gave up just three earned runs in 27 innings.
Final Athletics-Pirates Prediction & Pick
This one comes down to pitching. The Pirates are sending out a very good pitcher in Mitch Keller. He will get plenty of strikeouts today and should keep this poor Athletics offense at bay. Meanwhile, the Athletics send out Kaprielian. He has been bad this year, and even at his peak, is still giving up four runs an outing. The Pirates will be winning this one.
Final Athletics-Pirates Prediction & Pick: Pirates -1.5 (-126)