The San Francisco Giants (22-14, 8-10 away) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (15-21, 6-9 home) begin a four-game series Thursday night. The matchup will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.
Thursday’s first pitch is at 6:35 p.m. EST at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA. According to oddsmakers, the Giants are favored (-155), and the run total is 8.
What to Know – San Francisco Giants
San Francisco hits the road after a five-game homestand and will be away from California for the next eight games as they take on National League Central opponents. The Giants have won four of their last five games and have been one of the early surprises in the majors. San Fran sits atop the NL West standings, with a 1.5 game lead.
Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (2-1, 2.40 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) gets the nod on the bump for the visitors. DeSclafani has pieced together a solid start to the 2021 campaign but hasn’t been as sharp in May as he was in April. In last Friday’s start against the Padres, the 31-year old fired 5.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits, with three strikeouts in the no-decision.
The Giants average 4.4 runs per game and hit .226 at the plate as a team. Former All-Star Buster Posey has had a revitalization at the plate this season, leading the Giants in hits (30) and tied with a team-high eight home runs. Veteran third baseman Evan Longoria is batting a team-best .263, and first baseman Brandon Belt has driven in 21 RBI.
What to Know – Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates are in a bit of a rut, having lost ten of their last 13 contests. Pittsburgh dropped two of three to the Cincinnati Reds to start the week, falling in extra innings Wednesday, 5-1. The Pirates sit at the bottom of the NL Central, 6.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
San Francisco sends Wil Crowe (0-1, 4.02 ERA, 1.34 WHIP) to the mound, searching for his first win in the majors. The 26-year old has tallied 15.2 innings of work this year, scattering 12 hits resulting in seven earned runs. Crowe tossed 6.0 innings in his previous start, allowing two earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts.
Pittsburgh ranks near the button in runs per game (3.5) and team batting average (.225). Third baseman Colin Moran is a bright spot in the dim Pirates lineup, leading the team in runs driven in (19) and tied in home runs (4). Second baseman Adam Frazier is also a tough out at the plate, sporting a team-high .307 batting average and 43 hits.
The Pick is In
San Francisco’s start to the season has been quite unexpected, but the Giants have shown no signs of slowing down. The rebuilding continues in Pittsburgh, and the Pirates lack elite talent both offensively and on the mound.
The Giants made the trek from the West Coast on Wednesday, so the visitors should be well-rested for Thursday’s tilt. As much as we’d like to see Crowe capture his first MLB victory, we will have to wait until a future start.
The Pick: San Francisco ML