Somehow, the little engine that could Pittsburgh Pirates are still above .500 even after a four-game set in St. Louis which can be a house of horrors for the Bucs.
Now, the 9-7 Pirates head out to Denver for a three-gamer with the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies find themselves in the midst of a five-game losing streak and are 5-11 on the season.
There is some good news for Colorado and it comes in the form of a 43-year-old Rich Hill who is starting for Pittsburgh and will be opposed by Kyle Freeland. Hill is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA while Freeland is 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA.
Let’s take a look at the odds for this matchup and see if the Rockies can end their tough stretch tonight.
Pirates vs. Rockies odds, run line and total
Pirates vs. Rockies prediction and pick
Last time out, Rich Hill went six innings and allowed five hits and two runs against Houston in a 7-0 PIrates loss. Hill was serviceable in that one, but he might not be in Colorado.
Hill has allowed six home runs this year and 32.1% of his batted balls this season have been fly balls which is a career high, though in a small sample. His expected slugging percentage is third percentile in the MLB and his whiff rate is second percentile.
He gets no swing-and-misses and constantly gives up hard hit fly balls. At times he’s gotten away with it at PNC Park, but in Denver the balls fly and that type of pitching does not.
Hill could awaken the bats of the Rockies who have scored the least runs in the MLB over the past seven days, 15 and are 29th in OPS over that stretch. They are also 21st in OPS against left-handed pitching, but a year ago they were top five in OPS against lefties. The Rockies should start to tee off against Hill.
Pittsburgh will also have success against Freeland. Despite his impressive ERA, he has a 4.34 FIP, a fourth percentile whiff rate, and 36th percentile average exit velocity. 33.3% of his batted balls are fly balls, so Pittsburgh could make this a very high-scoring game.
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