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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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MLB Free Picks: Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Angels

Saturday afternoon baseball and we will see the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. First pitch is scheduled for a 3:35 PM (Eastern) start time and the game will be televised locally. Current Betting Odds, according to, have Los Angeles listed as the favorite

Current Odds

Pittsburgh        +120
Los Angeles     -140

Over/ Under: 8.5 -110

Analysis: Pittsburgh won the first two games of the series, as Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano produced strong pitching performances. Alvarez belted a solo home run in each contest and has gone deep in three straight games while collecting seven RBIs. The Pittsburgh slugger also doubled Saturday against the Angels to extend his hitting streak to seven games, during which he's batting .393 with four homers and 12 RBIs. Alvarez is 6 for 9 with two homers and a double when facing Blanton. Charlie Morton will be making his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery. The 29-year-old lost his season debut before scattering three hits over 5 1/3 innings in a victory over the Reds in Cincinnati on Tuesday. Morton notched the win in his only career start against the Angels, allowing three runs and five hits over six frames in his major-league debut with the Atlanta Braves.

After winning their previous two series, the Angels have scored a total of three runs in the first two contests of this set. Los Angeles began its 10-game homestand by taking two of three from the New York Yankees, then won three of four meetings with the American League West-rival Seattle Mariners. Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton sat out the first two games of this series and is likely to miss the finale with a sore right wrist. Still looking for his first home win, Blanton takes the mound as the Los Angeles Angels try to avoid a three-game sweep today. Blanton (1-10, 5.62 ERA) has suffered more losses than any AL pitcher, though he's recorded quality starts in four of his last five outings. Only three of his first nine were quality starts. He received an eight-day layoff between his last two starts, dedicating time to polish his fastball command with pitching coach Mike Butcher. He responded by striking out a career-high 11 for the second time in three starts while giving up two runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 loss to Seattle on Tuesday.Blanton has had mixed results against the Pirates, going 2-2 with a 4.66 over six starts, but the most recent was a disaster. He was charged with eight runs and seven hits - including three homers - over 4 1-3 innings in a 10-6 loss at Pittsburgh on Aug. 16, while with the Dodgers.

Pick: I like the Over in this one. The Pittsburgh offense has been solid of late and Blanton has struggled at home with a 5.70 ERA, with his home games averaging 11..29 rpg. He has 3 day starts and has an 8.79 ERA in those starts, with those games averaging 15 rpg. The Anaheim offense has been shutdown vs Pittsburgh pitching in the first 2 games, but this group still has averaged 5+ rpg in their last 10 games and I see them breaking back out in this one. Both offenses should have good showings today as we get at least 10 runs in this one. 

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