BRAVES (Dickey) at PIRATES (Kuhl)

Take: OVER 8

Note there is still some juiced 7.5 available on this game as I’m writing this. But the consensus number is now 8, so I’ll use that number here.

RA Dickey and Chad Kuhl are the slated starters for the Saturday clash between the Braves and Pirates. There are a couple of injuries to note here. Matt Kemp did a little something to a hammy on Friday night and his status for this game is up in the air. Likewise, Bucs infielder David Freese might also end up sitting this one out. Check the lineups once they’re available for updated information.

As for the matchup, my homework indicates there ought to be some scoring in this ballgame. Weather is not a concern, as it should be a mild evening in Pittsburgh and whatever breeze there is won’t hurt the offenses.

I’m not especially enamored with either Dickey or Kuhl. I think almost everyone knows about Dickey. The old knuckleballer is still good enough to be a back of the rotation option but that’s about it. As for Kuhl, he’s a grinder. The Bucs righty won’t often rack up many K’s, and I don’t see more than average stuff. Okay fastball, average slider. Kuhl’s game is to avoid free passes, try and induce soft contact and keep the baseball in the park. He looks to me like a reasonable back of the rotation type who won’t throw many gems, but will also do well enough to give his team a chance to win.

Another factor here is the state of the two bullpens. I graded both the Braves and Pirates on the below average side of the ledger prior to the start of the season, and that opinion has at least been somewhat validated off the early results. That means a chance to get some late inning runs either way, which can sure be helpful when trying to get scores on the board.

I made this total 9, so there was a good deal of value at the early 7.5 number that was posted. The Over got hit right away and has risen accordingly, but I still see that being the way to play this game. I’ll call it Over 8 between the Braves and Pirates.