Charles LeClaire, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Nick Kingham
- The Pirates will turn to impressive rookie Nick Kingham against the Mets on Thursday night.
- Kingham will take on Steven Matz, who is looking to rebound after a sluggish outing against the Yankees.
- It's also important to note the Pirates will be without Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson tonight.
Nothing makes me happier than a winning under bet that involves two of my favorite pitchers coming through with terrific outings, which was the case in yesterday’s victorious Pirates-Indians Under 8 bet. Now it’s on to Thursday.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 67-42-3, +20.7 units
Yesterday’s Result: Pirates-Indians Under 8, Taillon vs. Bauer (WIN)
Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
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New York Mets @ Pittsburgh Pirates | O/U: 8
7:05 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Steven Matz (4-8, 3.65 ERA) vs. Nick Kingham (5-4, 4.11 ERA)
There’s no question the Pirates have been hot lately. Before yesterday’s defeat in Cleveland — in an under I had — they had won 11 games in a row while scoring at least six runs in seven straight. Trevor Bauer put an to end to both of those streaks yesterday by shutting out the surging Bucs.
The Pirates’ bats could find it hard again tonight against Matz, who will look to rebound from a subpar outing against the Yankees in his last start.
Before he bombed in the Bronx, Matz enjoyed a decent first half. Despite his win-loss record, the 27-year-old southpaw actually posted some impressive numbers, amassing a very respectable 3.38 ERA and .234 batting average against in 18 starts, spanning 96 innings. Matz was also in a rhythm, logging quality starts in six of his final eight outings leading up to the All-Star break.
However, the biggest key for Matz here may have more to do with the Bucs and how they’ve suddenly caught the injury bug. For this evening at least, Pittsburgh will be without two of its best offensive players, former All-Star outfielders Starling Marte (hand) and Corey Dickerson (hamstring). They’ll be replaced by Jordan Luplow and Sean Rodriguez, representing a fairly massive downgrade that could pay off for Matz.
Any time a pitcher is facing the Mets these days, there’s typically a positive outlook as well — especially after they just lost Yoenis Cespedes for the season — but that may be the case for Kingham regardless of whom he’s facing.
The 26-year-old rookie has looked impressive in his first taste of the big leagues, going 5-4 with a 4.11 ERA. While he hasn’t quite matched the outstanding success he experienced in his debut at the end of April — when he registered seven shutout innings of one-hit baseball against the Cardinals — Kingham has been pretty steady nonetheless. He’s allowed more than three runs only three times in his 10 outings, and he enters tonight in strong form, having compiled three straight quality starts.
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Luckily, Kingham has also delivered his best work at pitcher-friendly PNC Park, which is where he’ll be in this one. The 2010 fourth-round draft choice is 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in five home starts, besting his road efforts (2-3, 5.54 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) by a wide margin.
Although the oddsmakers reacted swiftly by bringing the line down to 8 from 8.5, there’s still a chance it returns to the latter based on how the current juice is set up. Thus, wait until first pitch to see if you can get this under at 8.5, but if it doesn’t change, I’m still on it at 8.
Play: UNDER 8/8.5
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.