There is one expectation for every team in the MLB, including the Pittsburgh Pirates when the Oakland A’s come to town, a sweep.
Anything less will be a failure for the Bucs even after sweeping the Cardinals this weekend. Pittsburgh comes into this three-game series, the second of its nine-game home stand, at 31-27, just a half game behind Milwaukee for first in the NL Central. The A’s are 12-49, the worst record in baseball.
For Game 1, the Pirates will hope for a strong start to the month of June from Johan Oviedo after a shaky May. Oviedo is 3-4 with a 4.50 ERA and will be opposed by 0-3 JP Sears who has a 4.37 ERA in 11 starts.
The Pirates are big favorites at PNC Park tonight, but will they be able to extend their winning streak to six?
Athletics vs. Pirates odds, run line and total
Athletics vs. Pirates prediction and pick
The sweep of St. Louis was much needed, and considering the two comeback victories to start the series, nearly unbelievable. The Pirates had an awful May after a historically good April and now water might be finding its level again. This team clearly wasn’t as good as April nor as bad as May, and now they need to tread water in June with Endy and Henry on the way.
That was my poem about the Pirates promoting their 2021 No. 1 overall pick to triple-A this weekend. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoy watching this swing.
As far as the players actually with the Pirates right now; Johan Oviedo needs to be better than he was in May to warrant holding onto a spot in the rotation long term, particularly with his issues in the first inning.
He had five walks in 4.1 innings last time out and he had 18 walks to 23 strikeouts last month, but gave the team a chance to win in four of his five starts. Against Oakland all he needs to do is get them through five innings with the lead, especially after Rich Hill saved the bullpen yesterday.
Hopefully Andrew McCutchen will get his 2,000th hit soon after sitting on 1,997 with a day off yesterday. Anything less than Cutch getting No. 2,000 in this series and a sweep of Oakland is a failure, so let’s back the Bucs in Game 1.
Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change