Giants Need to Bounce Back

The Pittsburgh Pirates didn't need many runs to dominate last season's series with the San Francisco Giants. They might not score many in this season's first matchup, either.

Losers of three straight, the Pirates look to extend their winning streak over the struggling Giants to seven games for the first time in 10 years as the teams open a three-game series Friday night.

 

Pittsburgh (4-5) was swept in a three-game set by St. Louis to start the week, scoring two runs in each of the last two games after being shut out in the opener. The Pirates are batting .192 with runners in scoring position and .225 on the season.

Oddsmakers have made Pittsburgh -1.5 point spread favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8.5un total runs (View MLB Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on San Francisco +1.5 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

"It's very frustrating," said Pirates third baseman Freddy Sanchez, the reigning NL batting champion. "We've got to do a better job of hitting with runners on base. Hopefully, everybody will start heating up at the same time."

Pittsburgh played San Francisco (2-7) seven times last season, winning the final six despite scoring three runs or less four times. A win Friday would give the Pirates seven straight victories over the Giants for the first time since they took the final six meetings of 1996 and the season opener in 1997.

The Pirates left 13 runners on base in a 3-2 defeat to the Cardinals on Wednesday, losing in the ninth inning on a homer by Chris Duncan.

First baseman Adam LaRoche, his average down to .097, didn't start for the first time this season because of lower back stiffness. His status for Friday's game is uncertain.

Zach Duke (1-0, 3.46 ERA) will take the ball for the Pirates, looking for his third straight strong start. He picked up a win in his last outing, holding Cincinnati to three runs and six hits in six innings for a 6-3 victory April 8.

Duke's two career starts against San Francisco came last season, and he posted a 2.19 ERA without receiving a decision.

While Pittsburgh hasn't been hitting, the left-handed Duke will also be facing a struggling Giants lineup. San Francisco lost two of three to San Diego, dropping the series finale 4-0 on Wednesday night.

The Giants were shut out by the Padres for the third time in six games this season. They lost 7-0 on opening day at San Francisco on April 3, then 1-0 on Monday.

San Francisco has a .232 batting average and has scored 20 runs in nine games.

Barry Bonds went 0-for-4 for the Giants on Wednesday and is batting .192 with one home run on the season.

San Francisco's Todd Linden started in right field and is scheduled to start again in Friday's series opener. Manager Bruce Bochy said that will give veteran Randy Winn a few days off after starting the first eight games.

"I need to keep him (Linden) sharp," Bochy told the team's Web site. "Our plan is to give him a lot of at-bats this year. ... He'll get his opportunities in consecutive games."

Russ Ortiz (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will get the start for San Francisco. He struggled somewhat in his first outing, giving up three runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings of a 4-1 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday.

The right-hander hasn't faced the Pirates since 2005, but is 7-1 with a 2.93 ERA in 12 starts against them.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

More MLB Baseball coverage from theSpread.com

 - MLB news wire
 - Current MLB Injuries
 - 2007 MLB standings
 - 2007 MLB schedule
 - 2007 MLB Umpire sheet
 - 2007 MLB stats
 - MLB scoreboard
 - Expert MLB picks
 - Accuscore predictions
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - MLB home

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Shorthanded Chicago tries to topple Miami As recently as a week ago, the Cubs couldn’t do anything wrong. Now they’re asking a 24-year-old to hold down the cleanup spot after a pair of starts in the...
Thumbnail Upton, Padres tackle Reds on momentous night On the surface, this weekend’s Reds-Padres series seems destined to lag well behind the accompanying pomp and circumstance outside of the white lines. Don’t...
Thumbnail Phillies vs. Giants Pick The San Francisco Giants look to stay hot when they host the struggling Philadelphia Phillies tonight at 10:15PM ET.
Thumbnail Cardinals vs. Mariners Pick The St. Louis Cardinals make a rare trip West to face the Seattle Mariners tonight at 10:10PM ET.
Thumbnail Mets vs. Braves Pick The New York Mets look to avoid an upset on the road when they face the Atlanta Braves at 7:35PM ET.
More inMLB Articles  

MLB Headlines

More inMLB News  

MLB Team Pages