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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs Free Pick - 9/12/13

Chicago Cubs (62-83) at Pittsburgh Pirates (84-61)

MLB Baseball: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 7:05 pm (PNC Park)

Chris Rusin (L) (2-3) (2.887) vs. Jeff Locke (L) (9-5) (3.228)

The Line: Pittsburgh Pirates -172 / Chicago Cubs +162 --- Over/Under: 8 See the Latest Odds

TV: WGN-America, ROOT-Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Pirates host the Chicago Cubs in an NL Central match up Thursday.

Chicago played the role of spoiler to perfection in the first two games of their series with Cincinnati by pounding the Reds by a combined 11-1. However, it was the Reds that did the pounding Wednesday in a 6-0 decision. The bats and arms were no where to be found with starter Jeff Samardzija allowing all six runs on eight hits including a pair of homers over 5.2 frames. The offense did put runners on base on six hits and four free passes but didn't get the key hit in limited opportunities. The Cubs give the ball to Chris Rusin for Thursday's start versus the postseason hopeful Pirates. Rusin didn't get a decision in an 8-5 victory over the Brewers in which he gave up two runs on seven hits in 3.2 frames.

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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs Free Pick - 9/12/13

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

If the Pirates are about to embark on a hot streak they have picked the perfect time with the National League Central leading Cardinals also starting to win. Pittsburgh notched win number three in a row with a 6-5 victory at Texas for the series sweep. AJ Burnett had struggled in this match up and did so Wednesday but did toss five scoreless frames before allowing five runs in 6.1 innings. The Buccos took advantage of their 12 hit, five walk attack with Clint Barmes going deep and driving in a pair of runs. A struggling Jeff Locke will be on the bump to face the visiting Cubs on Thursday. Locke began the season on fite but has slowed over his last seven where he has gone 0-2 with five no decisions.

I really don't like what I have seen from Locke lately as he has been fading. Having said that, Pittsburgh desperately needs to keep winning but so did the Reds and the Cubs played them tough so no guarantee and I doubt I would lay the chalk...

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