The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers continue their MLB betting series after the Bucs took the first game of the four-game set.
Time: 7:40 PM
Venue: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Sportsbook odds for fans who bet on baseball:
Pirates +1½ (-210) 9½ (-125) EV
Brewers -1½ (+175) 9½ (+105) -110
On the mound: Chad Kuhl (RHP, 1-6, 5.61 ERA, 47 K) allowed the Rockies three runs in five innings on Wednesday, in the Pirates’ 10th loss in 13 Kuhl starts. He has not won a start since April 8th and has not thrown more than five innings since April 18th. Kuhl has increased the average speed on his four-seam fastball this season, reaching 94.39 miles per hour from 93.32 mph in 2016. Manager Clint Hurdle has never bore witness to a pitcher increasing three or four miles per hour on a fastball three months into the season. “It jumped all of a sudden,” he said. “It was nothing we’ve ever seen. And then it happened and now it’s repeatedly happening.” Perhaps he developed a Roogie’s Bump on his throwing arm? Kuhl has also begun throwing a high-70s, low-80s curveball, a pitch that general manager Neal Huntington said endows him with a unique feeling on the mound.
At bat: Outfielder Andrew McCutchen was batting .203 and slugging just .360 about a month ago, he has duplified his barrel-per-batted-ball rate, including a barreled homer on Saturday with a 103.6 mph exit velocity which made the difference in the Bucs’ 4-3 win over the Cubs. He also hit a two-run, opposite-field homer off Matt Garza in the opener against the Brewers on Monday.
Trends for fans who bet on baseball: The Pirates have won and covered in six of their last nine games, and are 7-2 against the spread in their last nine on the road. The MLB betting total has gone in four of the Bucs’ last six meeting with the Brewers.
Miscellanea: Pittsburgh bullpen had a 4.14 ERA which ranked them near the middle of the league on Monday, but its relievers have displayed a knack for finishing at-bats when they get to two strikes. The Pirates’ relievers have a combined league-best 28.6% strike rate on two-strike pitches. Moreover, the Pirates’ bullpen has converted about 15% of their two-strike pitches into outs.
On the mound: Zach Davies (RHP, 7-3, 4.91 ERA, 51 K) allowed Pittsburgh two runs in 5 2/3 innings on May 7th, and has surrendered seven runs in his last four appearances in Miller Park – of which two were scoreless starts. Davies has two wins in three starts in June, versus the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks.
At bat: Outfielder Keon Broxton can hit a fastball as hard as the next guy; e.g., when he hit Michael Wacha’s four-seamer 489 feet on Thursday for Majors’ second-longest homer of the season. Conversely, he can also swing up a storm. Entering this series, Broxton ranked close to the top of the Statcast leaderboard in line-drive rate and whiff rate against fastballs in the strike zone entering this series.
Trends for fans who bet on baseball: The MLB betting total has gone under in eight of the Brewers’ last 11 times hosting the Pirates.