Glavine Takes Hill
A perfect six-game homestand has the Atlanta Braves in position to match their longest winning streak in almost two years.
They'll try to do that on the road, where they are one of the worst teams in baseball.
The Braves hope Tom Glavine can help them avoid a fifth consecutive road loss by finally getting his first win of the season Friday night when they open a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Pittsburgh -110 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 64% of bets for this game have been placed on Atlanta +100 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
The Braves (18-15) are coming off an impressive 6-0 homestand, hitting .333 and posting a 2.67 ERA while sweeping three-game sets from Cincinnati and San Diego. They haven't won seven consecutive games since July 8-18, 2006.
Matt Diaz's bases-loaded single in the ninth inning gave Atlanta a 5-4 victory over the Padres on Thursday.
"It's our first one-run win, which is nice and good for us," right fielder Jeff Francoeur said after the Braves improved to 1-9 in one-run games. "Now we need to take this momentum on the road, where we haven't exactly been sharp this year."
Atlanta has lost its last four road games, getting held to 11 runs, to fall to 4-11 away from home. No team in the majors has fewer road wins.
Glavine (0-1, 4.50 ERA), though, has been solid on the road. Excluding a start at Washington on April 13 when he left with a strained hamstring after failing to record an out, Glavine has allowed two runs and nine hits in 12 1-3 innings away from home.
That hamstring injury resulted in his first career stint on the disabled list and helped extend his winless drought. The future Hall of Famer hasn't posted a victory since beating Houston on Sept. 8, going 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in nine games - five since re-signing with Atlanta in the offseason.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner was ineffective in his last start Sunday, allowing six runs and seven hits with five walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 14-7 win over Cincinnati.
"I felt too good (Sunday)," Glavine told the Braves' official Web site. "For the first time in a while I felt, 'I can let it go and I'm not worried about my hamstring or anything like that.'
"It was one of those days as a pitcher that you dread because if you think in terms of a throttle in a car, it's, 'You're going, you're backing off. You're going, you're backing off.' I never found that consistent tempo in between where I felt like I could repeat my mechanics and make the pitch I was really trying to make."
Glavine is 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA in nine starts against the Pirates (15-19) since losing to them on Sept. 3, 2002. He held Pittsburgh to two runs in five innings of Atlanta's 12-11, 12-inning loss on March 31, as the Braves went on to drop two of three in the series.
Glavine's opponent in that game was Ian Snell (2-2, 5.09), who allowed four runs in six innings, and they will square off again Friday.
The Pirates won each of Snell's first three starts - he went 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA - but the right-hander has since gone 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA. He allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings of a 5-2 loss at Washington on Sunday.
"I just can't find a rhythm. I'm not lying. It's like a nightmare," said Snell, who is 1-2 with a 5.28 ERA in five starts against Atlanta. "To tell you the truth, you go out and keep the ball down in the zone, it's like ball. You keep it up, and you get smashed. I had a problem with keeping the ball down last year. Now, I'm keeping it down, and I've got to bring it up."
Snell hopes to help the Pirates match their longest winning streak of the season at four games. They are coming off a three-game sweep of San Francisco after a 5-4 victory on Thursday. Bet this game.
Here are some top trends for tonight's game:
- GLAVINE is 8-5 when starting against PITTSBURGH with an ERA of 3.22 and a WHIP of 1.341.
- PITTSBURGH is 2-1 (+1.8 Units) against ATLANTA this season
- 2 of 3 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season .
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