Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates 9/21/18 Pick
Time: 7:05 PM ET
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA
Listed Pitchers: Jhoulys Chacin (Mil) vs. Ivan Nova (Pitt)
TV: FS – Wisconsin, SportsNet Pittsburgh
Moneyline: Brewers -140/Pirates +130
The Brewers are trying to lock down a playoff berth, while the Pirates are hanging by a thread. How are we playing the opener of this weekend rivalry series with our daily free MLB picks?
Friday’s MLB Betting Line
Friday’s MLB betting odds opened the Brewers at around -125 for this game, with an over/under of 8 runs. The early betting action then bumped the Brew Crew 15 cents, to around -140.
Milwaukee could also be found getting around +120 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.
The Brewers just took two of three games at home from Cincinnati earlier this week, taking Wednesday’s series rubber match 7-0. Milwaukee then had Thursday off.
With Wednesday’s victory, the Brewers are 2-3 over their last five games. At 87-66 overall Milwaukee trails the first-place Cubs by 2.5 games in the NL Central, but also leads the NL wild-card race by three games over second-place St. Louis.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, just swept three games at home from Kansas City this week, winning Wednesday 2-1. The Pirates then also had Thursday off.
So the Pirates carry a five-game winning streak into Friday night. At 77-74 overall Pittsburgh sits six games back of the Cardinals in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot, with time running out.
Also, Milwaukee has already played over its season wins O/U of 86, while Pittsburgh is already over its total of 75.
The Pirates lead this season series with the Brewers 10 games to six.
Nova (9-9, 4.07), by our strict standards, is 14/27 on quality starts this season and five for his last six. Last Saturday he held these Brewers to one run through six innings, and over his previous six starts, he’s allowed just 10 runs through 34 1/3 innings, for a 2.62 ERA over that span. On the season Pittsburgh is 15-12 with Nova.
In two starts this season against the Brewers Nova allowed two runs and 11 hits through 10 2/3 innings. The Pirates won both those games, and both games played under their totals.
Chacin (14-8, 3.54) is 11/32 on quality starts this year, although a short leash contributes to that figure. Last Sunday he held this Pittsburgh lineup to two runs through five innings, and over his previous eight starts, he’s allowed 13 earned runs through 46 innings for a 2.54 ERA over that span. On the season Milwaukee is 20-12 with Chacin.
In five starts this season against the Pirates Chacin allowed eight ER through 28 2/3 innings. Somehow, Milwaukee only won one of those games, with unders going 3-2.
This pitching match-up is close, but we’re giving our handicapping check-mark to Chacin and the Brewers.
Friday’s Batting Splits
Milwaukee owns a .251/.320/.425 team batting average/OBP/slugging percentage split against right-handed pitching this season.
Pittsburgh owns a .257/.319/.407 split against righties this year.
We’ll call the splits with the sticks a wash for this game.
The Brewers bullpen owns a 3.59 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.
The Pirates pen owns a 4.07 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.
We’ll give Milwaukee the edge in the bullpen comparison.
Unders are 41-31 in games played at PNC Park this year, which are averaging 7.9 total runs per, fifth-fewest among all ML ballparks.
Unders are 10-2 in the Brewers’ last 12 games, thanks mainly to Milwaukee pitching, which has limited opponents to three runs or less 11 times during that span.
Unders are 4-1 in Pittsburgh’s last five games.
Free MLB Picks
The Brewers get two of our main handicapping check-marks for this game, but they’re close. Also, Milwaukee could be without spark-plug Lorenzo Cain, who’s missed recent action with sore ribs. Plus, the Pirates would love to play spoiler here, and they’re getting a home-dog price. We’re playing Pittsburgh at Bookmaker for our free MLB picks for Friday.
Note: Tech issue had us posted this after the game had started.