MLB Odds: LA Dodgers visit Pittsburgh Pirates

By: Brad Young | Sunday, May 8, 2011

Los Angeles begins a four-game series in Pittsburgh on Monday hoping to get back on the winning track.  The Dodgers entered Sunday’s matchup with New York mired in a four-game losing streak, while outfielder Andre Ethier saw his 30-game hitting streak end.

Los Angeles has tumbled to fourth place in the National League West standings with a scoring differential of -34, plating 123 runs while surrendering 157.  The Pirates are a shade under .500 and in the middle of a tightly packed NL Central race.  Pittsburgh has a scoring differential of -13, recording 123 runs while yielding 136.

The Dodgers give the starting assignment to hurler Chad Billingsley, hoping the five-year veteran can build on his 2-1 record and 3.92 ERA.  The right-hander earned a no-decision in Tuesday’s effort against Chicago after Los Angeles won his previous three outings.

The 26-year-old tossed seven solid innings, allowing one run on four hits (one home run) with two walks and eight strikeouts on 101 pitches.  The Dodgers eventually dropped that contest as 148 home ‘chalk,’ 4-1.  The combined five runs went ‘under’ the 7 ½-run closing total, ending a string of back-to-back ‘over’ outings.

Billingsley faced the Pirates twice last season, tossing a combined 11 1/3 innings while surrendering three runs on 11 hits with seven walks and 11 strikeouts.  Los Angeles prevailed as a 141 road favorite, 10-2, and as decided 245 home ‘chalk,’ 6-2.

The Dodgers are just 2-9 in Billingsley’s last 11 road starts.

Pittsburgh right-hander Jeff Karstens (2-1, 4.05 ERA) hopes to secure his first victory since April 23 when he upended Washington.  The Texas Tech product is 0-1 his last two outings after Tuesday’s no-decision against San Diego.

Karstens was reached for three runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and four strikeouts over just four innings and 87 pitches.  The Pirates eventually dropped that affair as a 149 road underdog, 6-5, while the combined 11 runs toppled the 6 ½-run closing total.  The ‘over’ is now 3-1 his four starts.

Karstens faced the Dodgers once last season, resulting in a road loss as a 219 underdog, 9-3.  The 28-year-old lasted five innings, allowing six runs on 11 hits (one home run) with a walk and three strikeouts.  The combined 12 runs eclipsed the 8 ½-run closing total.

The Dodgers are 51-20 their previous 71 games against Pittsburgh, while the ‘over’ is 33-13 the last 46 encounters.

Los Angeles follows this road trip with a seven-game homestand versus Arizona, Milwaukee and San Francisco.  Pittsburgh embarks on a seven-game road trip following this series with games against Milwaukee, Washington and Cincinnati.

Monday’s forecast for Pittsburgh calls for sunny skies, with a high of 71 degrees and a low of 51.  This contest is scheduled to start at 4:05 p.m. PT from PNC Park.

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