The Pittsburgh Pirates will desperately try to snap their six-game losing streak Saturday night when they continue their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. At home, the Dodgers are heavy -200 favorites to win.
The Pirates were great throughout the first half of April, but the wheels have fallen off over the past week. On the heels of a five-game winning streak, Pittsburgh has now lost six in a row after Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Dodgers. The Bucs have scored just 11 runs over those six games, which has dropped them to .500 on the season.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers find themselves in a familiar position at the top of the NL West standings. Los Angeles actually endured their own six-game losing streak not too long ago. But they’ve won nine of their last 12 games since snapping that skid. Alas, with Arizona, San Diego, and Colorado all in the midst of winning streaks, the Dodgers can’t afford to slip up if they want to remain at the top of the division.
The Same Guy
Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to start Saturday’s game for the Dodgers. After starting the season on the IL, Kershaw returned in the middle of April and is ready for his third start of the year. He’s allowed four runs over 13 innings across his first two starts. Kershaw has struck out 13 and allowed just seven hits during that span. Outside of issuing four walks against the Brewers last time out, Kershaw has looked sharp thus far.
Perhaps more importantly, Kershaw is facing a team that’s been ice cold at the plate. Josh Bell has provided some power, and Jung Ho King is going well at the moment, but the Pirates are also relying on some younger players due to injury who aren’t producing at a high level just yet. Those young players now have the task of facing Kershaw, which is not ideal for a struggling team.
Opposing Kershaw for the Pirates will be Joe Musgrove. In his second season with the Pirates, Musgrove is possibly in the midst of a breakout season. Across four starts and one relief appearances, Musgrove is rocking a 1.59 ERA. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his four starts and has held opposing batters to a .180 average. For a team that’s struggling to score runs, he may be Pittsburgh’s best chance to snap their losing streak.
Musgrove has also fared well in his brief experience against the Los Angeles hitters, who are a combined 4 for 19 against him. However, he’ll have to find a way to deal with Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson, who are both mashing at the moment. Fellow left-handed hitters Alex Verdugo and Corey Seager are also swinging a good bat over the last week and will pose a threat to Musgrove and the Pirates on Saturday.
Play It Safe
With a money line of -200, there isn’t much to gain by betting on the Dodgers. However, even with Musgrove starting, it’s tough to side with Pittsburgh. The Dodgers are a hot team that’s scoring runs. They’ll also have Kershaw on the mound facing a young, struggling team. Bet on the Dodgers -200 to win on Saturday night.