Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers Preview and Pick – Paul Maholm vs. Dave Bush

Pittsburgh Pirates (11-8) Paul Maholm +135, 8.5 O/U at Milwaukee
Brewers (9-10) Dave Bush -145, 8.5 O/U, Miller Park, Milwaukee,
Wis., 8:05 PM EST, Tuesday

by Badger of Predictem.com

Milwaukee Brewers starter Dave Bush will be making his first start since flirting with a no-hitter in Philly last Thursday, and the
Brewers will try and continue their run of good fortune over the
Pittsburgh Pirates when Bush meets up with Pirates ace Paul Maholm on
the bump Tuesday night in Miller Park.

An injury-depleted Pirates lineup hung around but the Brewers won
last nights series opener, 10-5, when the Pirates couldnt find a
relief pitcher who could get an out in the bottom half of the eighth
inning. The Brewers scored five runs off of three different relievers
with only two hits in the process (3 walks and an HBP), then welcomed
new closer Trevor Hoffman of the disabled list for what turned into a
meaningless 1-2-3 ninth in his first appearance as a Brewer.

The Brewers have literally owned the Pirates of late too, as last
nights win was the Brewers 13th-straight in the series between the
two teams and makes them 23-6 in the last 29 meetings in their NL
Central Division rivalry.

Maholm will be the next pitcher to try and break the Brewers stranglehold on the Pirates. Maholm has been stellar this season
overall (3-0, 2.02 ERA, 1.09 WHIP), but he did give up four runs on
eight hits in his last outing, by far his worst of the season so far.

Baseball oddsmakers have the Brewers and Bush listed as -145
favorites on the moneyline, with Maholm and the Pirates as a valuable
+135 underdog. The over/under total is currently at 8.5 at most
offshore sportsbooks on the Internet.

The Brewers offense has picked up and down the lineup, but its no
secret the Brewers winning ways have been fueled by Ryan Braun and
Prince Fielder. The Crew is scoring 5.83 runs per game during the
past six games, up from their 4.63 average (19th), and theyve
finally started hitting some long balls as they are now 4th in the
league with 26 as a team. Braun and Mike Cameron, who is 11-for-18
versus Maholm in his career, each have hit 5 homeruns on the season.

Pittsburghs offense is a shell of what it was just a week ago when
they won eight of their last 10 games and entered the Brewers series
as the hottest team in the NL. Catcher Ryan Doumit and shortstop Jack
Wilson were officially put on the DL last Sunday and All-Star
centerfielder Nate McClouth sat out of last nights game with an
oblique strain. Second baseman Freddy Sanchez (.359) and first
baseman Adam LaRoche (1.016 OPS, 5 HR) are hot, but even they arent
hot enough to pick up the loss of those three bats in the lineup.

Bush has struggled at times in Miller Park, and at times versus the
Pirates, since he is 3-4 with a 4.67 ERA in 11 career appearances
against them. He has pitched three straight quality starts (6 IP,
less than 3 ER) against them in his last three times on the bump.

Maholm also has a mixed track record versus Milwaukee, going 2-5 with
a 4.26 ERA in 10 starts, but he has only allowed two earned runs of
less in three of his last four starts against the Brew Crew.

With two quality pitchers on the mound and a weakened Pirates lineup
to boot, its actually the over that has the favorable betting trend
numbers. The over is 7-3 in Pittsburghs last 10 road games and also
5-2 in Bushs last seven starts against the Pirates. Overall the
series has played over too, especially at Miller Park, where the over
is 13-6-1 in the last 20 games.

Badgers Pick: I really like Maholm here as a +135 underdog. Thats
just a great value. But I also think the game will go over the total
as well. Bush will get knocked around a little and the Brewers will
get a few late runs off a weak and thin Pirate bullpen, so it goes
over the 8.5 total too.