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MLB Game Preview for Tuesday June 21, 2011: Orioles vs. Pirates

Written by Matt Stevens   
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 07:11

Orioles vs. Pirates Free PicksOnline Sports Betting Overview

They are not quite family yet, but the MLB baseball betting fans in Pittsburgh are trying to remember what it is like to be in a pennant race late into June. It has been so long since the Pirates have been this competitive that the crowds are still hesitant to come out to the ballpark and support the team. But, slowly, the fans are starting to get into this pennant race and for the first time in a long time, the MLB baseball news in Pittsburgh is not all bad. The Pirates enter this game with the Orioles only four games out of first place in the NL Central and only one game away from a .500 record. The ballpark in Pittsburgh will be jumping now.

The Baltimore Orioles were surprising every MLB fan early in the season by being the runaway leader for the AL East pennant. With the Red Sox having the worst start in franchise history, the Yankees just not as good as they were last year and Tampa Bay struggling without Carl Crawford; it was the Orioles that grabbed an early lead in the AL East.

Baltimore did not just grab the lead, they started to run away with the division. But the Orioles came crashing to the ground and could not keep pace with a Boston team that found its legs and a Yankees team that learned to utilize its starting pitching rotation better. The Orioles met everyone’s expectation by dropping to the basement of the AL East.

Pittsburgh Pirates
The question in Pittsburgh is no longer whether or not the Pirates can keep up a .500 record, it is whether or not the Pirates can compete with the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers for the NL Central pennant. For some strange reason, a .500 record is now expected in Pittsburgh. What fans don’t want to see is Cincinnati, Milwaukee and St. Louis start to pull away from Pittsburgh and leave the Pirates in the dust.

Taking the mound for the Pirates in this game is James McDonald. McDonald is 5-4 with a 4.80 record, but he is having problems getting batters out. McDonald has made 14 starts this season, and he has only been able to pitch past the sixth inning once. He runs up his pitch counts by throwing balls or giving up foul balls on a regular basis. He can be effective at times, but he tends to struggle early in games.

Baltimore Orioles
In the span of a little over a month, the Orioles have gone from a multiple game lead in the AL East to being 10 games out of the pennant race. Jeremy Guthrie starts this game for the Orioles, and he is a good example of what is going on in Baltimore. Guthrie is having an injury-plagued season that has led to a 2-8 record and a 3.56 ERA. Even with numbers like that, Guthrie is considered the staff ace.

The Bottom Line
The Pirate can sweep this series to pull their record a game or two above .500 and try to make up some of the ground between themselves and the NL Central leaders. The key for Pittsburgh is to hang around within a few games of the lead until late in the season. At that point, if they still have what it takes, they can make their run.

BSN Sports Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates

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