The Pittsburgh Pirates open a four-game series against the New York Mets on Thursday night as they hope to bounce back after having their season-best 11 game winning streak snapped.
Fourth Straight Losing Start For Matz?
Steven Matz (4-8, 3.65 ERA) hopes to avoid a fourth consecutive losing start as he takes the mound for the New York Nets in this series opener. The 27-year-old left-hander gave up five runs on nine hits and one walk with three strikeouts in five innings against the New York Yankees on 7/21/18.
Matz didn’t really have a very bad game against the Yankees as he didn’t get into trouble until the fourth inning where he was reached for four runs on five hits, including three consecutive extra-base hits. After allowing another run on back to back hits two innings later, Matz was relieved with no outs in the sixth.
Despite his three-game losing skid, Matz has a solid 3.65 ERA in 19 starts. Likewise, he is 3-3 with a 3.0 ERA in nine road starts. The lefty has not given up more than one run in six of those nine games away from Citi Field. However, he gave up five or more runs in the remaining three games noted.
When the Mets played the Pirates at home last June 26, Matz did not get the decision after giving up three runs and six hits in seven innings pitched. The Mets won 4-3 in 10 innings. In two career starts against the Pirates, Matz is 0-1 with five runs and 15 strikeouts in a total of 12 innings pitched.
Asdrubal Cabrera is the focal person in the Mets offense. Cabrera leads the Mets in homeruns (17), RBIs(54) and batting average (.273).
New York Mets vs Pittsburgh Pirates 7/26/18
Odds: New York +140, Pittsburgh -165
(Odds from Betway as of 7/25/18)
Fourth Straight Win For Kingham?
While Steven Matz is aiming not to lose a fourth straight start, Pirates rookie pitcher Nick Kingham is heading the opposite direction as he aims for a fourth straight win for the red-hot Pirates. The right-handed Kingham has yielded just six hits in a total of 18 ⅔ innings pitched over three games, lowering his ERA to almost two-thirds of a run during his win streak.
Against the Cincinnati Reds last Saturday, Kingham threw for a 6 ⅓ inning shutout before allowing a Curt Casali two-run home run in the seventh inning. The Pirates bullpen finished the job with the final eight outs, giving Kingham the win and the Pirates a 6-2 victory.
Kingham is 3-1 with an ERA of 2.90 in his five starts at home. He has not given up more than three runs in any of those five games at the PNC Bank Park, limiting opposing batters to a .204 batting average at their home park. Kingham has also gotten a lot of support during his starts at PNC Bank Park, with his teammates providing him with 5.2 run support per outing during his home starts. This will be Kingham’s first start against the Mets.
Gregory Polanco is 2-5 with one homerun while Josh Harrison is 3-6 with a triple against Steven Matz. Polanco leads the Pirates with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs this season. However, outfielder Starling Marte is hitless in six at bats against the lefty Matz.
Marte is on a day to day status after exiting Wednesday’s game against the Indians. The two-time Golden Glove winner was hit in the hand by a pitch in the first inning of that game. However, because he did not have an official at-bat before getting hit by a pitch, Marte’s 17-game hitting streak is still on. During the streak, Marte has recorded 7 home runs and 20 RBIs while going 28-71 (.394).
Who Wins This?
The Mets are 3-13 in their last 16 games against opponents from NL Central. They are also just 4-10 away from home against right-handed pitchers this season and are 4-12 in their last 16 series openers. New York’s downward trends only add to the fact that starting pitcher Steven Matz is also struggling.
While the numbers don’t look good for the Mets, The Pirates’ trends are looking great. Pittsburgh is 13-3 in their last 16 games overall and is undefeated in their last 6 games. Likewise, the Pirates have a 15-7 record against the Mets in their last 22 meetings. Add the fact that Nick Kingham has been red hot since the All-Star break.
We’re picking the Pittsburgh Pirates to win at (-165) and continue their red hot ways.