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MLB handicapper Matt Zylbert breaks down today's Pirates vs. Diamondbacks game

Pirates vs. Diamondbacks Prediction: MLB Over/Under Picks

Pittsburgh Pirates at Arizona Diamondbacks

Over/Under: 9.5

First pitch: 3:40 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network

Probable pitchers: Max Kranick (1-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (4-6, 5.35 ERA)

Pirates vs. Diamondbacks

Let’s get one thing right out of the way: Bumgarner has been pitching far better than what his overall stat line suggests.

That’s evident based on the veteran southpaw’s 4.30 xERA (Expected ERA) and 4.52 FIP. The item that sticks out most to me, though, is Bumgarner’s strikeout rate of 9.32 K/9, which is notably his highest such mark in five seasons.

Clearly, Bumgarner hasn’t been bad at all at age 31 outside a couple of rough stretches. He’s past both and as a matter of fact, he’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in the majority of his starts (eight).

Bumgarner recently returned from injury after a month-plus-long layoff but to quell anyone’s suspicion that it might take the former World Series MVP a little time to settle in again, he already fired six innings of one-run (earned) ball against a contending Chicago Cubs lineup, striking out six and yielding two hits on the night.

Improving his chances for a quality showing is the fact that his oppo this afternoon is arguably the worst offense in baseball with a left-hander on the mound.

The Pirates not only have the lowest team OPS (.665) opposite lefties, they’ve cranked out the fewest home runs in this department as well with only 18 long balls.

On a relatively high total like 9.5 (especially in a National League game), one starter carrying the load can be paramount in deciding how that plays out.

With Mad Bum doing most of the heavy lifting, we just need someone on the other side to not get roughed up and it appears we have someone capable of that responsibility in the birthday boy Kranick.

Yes, the rookie right-hander indeed turns 24 today and his present from work is the team with the worst record in the Majors.

Arizona is actually going for a rare sweep here but Kranick has looked decent enough to at least hang. He’s made two starts — both of which against quality opponents — and he accomplished just that in both, allowing just four hits total.

In the process, Kranick amassed a 3.38 ERA, and while I don’t think he can maintain that, all we need from him is a decent outing and that should be enough.

Pirates vs. Diamondbacks Prediction

Pick: UNDER 9.5 (-117)

MLB Leans

Padres-Braves Under 7.5 (Game 1)

Twins-White Sox Under 9.5

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “52-42-7,” +4.47 units

Yesterday’s Result: Padres-Braves Under 9 (No Action)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


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