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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers MLB Pick, Odds, Prediction 8/11/14

Detroit Tigers (63-51) at Pittsburgh Pirates (62-54)

MLB Baseball: Monday, August 11, 2014 at 7:05 pm (PNC Park)

Justin Verlander (R) (10-10) (4.566) vs. Jeff Locke (L) (3-3) (3.778)

The Line: Pittsburgh Pirates +102 / Detroit Tigers -112 --- Over/Under: 7.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: FSDT, ROOT

Contenders from opposite leagues collide in Pittsburgh on Monday night as the Pirates host the Tigers in game one of a four game home and home series.

The Tigers blew a save in the 9th inning for the second consecutive game on Sunday, and they paid exponentially for it as they played 10 extra innings only to lose 6-5 in the 19th on a Jose Bautista RBI single.  The Tigers scored five runs off of Mark Buehrle to jump out to a 5-0 lead after four innings, but they couldn’t convert again the rest of the way on 22 total hits.   With the Royals sweeping the Giants over the weekend to cook up a seven game win streak, the Tigers have now seen their AL Central lead shrink to just  a half game after losing back-to-back series.  Detroit needs to figure out their mess of a bullpen in a hurry if they want to be considered as serious contenders in the postseason. 

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers MLB Pick, Odds, Prediction 8/11/14

USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers will look to end their road trip on a high note as they send Justin Verlander to the mound for the series opener on Monday.   The 31 year old right hander hasn’t been his best self this year, but in his last two starts he’s been more effective than usual with an ERA of 2.40 across 15 innings of work.   For the season Verlander has a WHIP of 1.40, ERA of 4.57 and record of 10-10.  In last year’s series between these teams, Verlander defeated the Pirates on May 27th, 2013 while allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings, picking up the win in a 6-5 game.  Most of the Pirates roster hasn’t seen much of Verlander, but Russell Martin is batting .429 over 14 at bats against him and Travis Snider is batting .385 over 13 at bats.

The Tigers are a strong road team despite their recent stretch at 33-25 on the season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates squandered an opportunity to keep pace with the Brewers this weekend, dropping two of three to the lowly Padres.  In Sunday’s game, starter Charlie Morton was given a 2-0 lead in the first on a home run by Gregory Polanco, but he unraveled at the end of his shift, eventually hitting his NL-leading 19th batter of the season to load the bases in the 5th, then allowing a bases clearing triple to Seth Smith, who would come in to score on a wild pitch.   The Pirates couldn’t manage to dig out of the 5-2 hole dug by Morton as the deficit eventually ballooned to 8-2 by afternoon’s end with the Pirates mustering just six total hits. 

Jeff Locke will take the mound on Monday as the Pirates try to rebound while also stepping up in weight class.  The 26 year old fourth year left-hander has generally been pretty solid this year as he enters this game with a WHIP of 1.16, ERA of 3.78 and record of 3-3 across 12 starts.   Locke hasn’t been at his sharpest over his last five starts though, going 1-2 with an ERA of 4.88.  The lefty may have an advantage the first couple trips through the lineup as only Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez have seen him before, although Cabrera is two for three with two doubles in those limited appearances.

The Pirates are 37-24 at home on the season.

After yesterday's marathon it's hard to put a lot of faith in the Tigers, so I will take my chances with the home team in a spot that's probably best to avoid.

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Pittsburgh Pirates +102 (1 unit)

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