Aug. 14 MLB Preview — Pittsburgh Pirates (50-69) at Los Angeles Angels (58-63)

(Mike Trout photo courtesy Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Wednesday, Aug. 14, Angel Park, Anaheim, Calif., 8:07 p.m. EDT.

Chris Archer looks for a third straight quality start and a little bit of help from his teammates as the Pittsburgh Pirates go for the sweep of their three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Archer done in by bullpen and lack of offenses in last two starts

Archer (3-8, 5.23 ERA) has not won in 11 starts since beating Atlanta on June 6, but the right-hander has deserved better in his last two outings while not getting a decision in either.

He watched the Pirates bullpen squander a two-run lead after six one-run innings against the New York Mets on Aug. 3, then the offense could not get over the hump Friday when he left the game tied following a six-inning effort versus St. Louis in which he allowed two runs in a 6-2 defeat.

“When your body feels good, you can trust your stuff. If there is any doubt in how your body feels, then there’s a little lack of trust,” Archer told the club’s official website. “Obviously no excuse. Guys are out there with nicks and bruises. We all have to pitch through it. But I feel a lot better standing on that mound when my body feels good.”

Archer is winless on the road this year, going 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in 10 starts outside PNC Park. He is 7-9 with a 3.33 ERA in 23 career interleague starts but has a strong track record against the Angels from his time with Tampa Bay, going 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA in eight starts.

That includes a 4-1 record and 2.00 ERA in six starts in Anaheim after tossing 6 2-3 shutout innings in a 7-1 victory last season with the Rays. Archer has kept Mike Trout in check, conceding five singles while striking him out eight times in 22 at-bats, but Albert Pujols is 6 for 18 with a homer.

Peters plagued by long ball in recent outings

Dillon Peters (2-1, 3.45) has struggled to avoid having one bad inning that ruins an appearance, with the long ball proving problematic. The left-hander has served up at least one homer in four of his last five starts, and the two hit off him Friday resulted in the entire offense of the Angels’ 3-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

“I just went with him,” Peters told The Orange County Register, crediting catcher Max Stasi with helping his performance. “The high fastball was working and the curveball played off it. Really, he needs the credit. He called a hell of a game. It was a lot of fun.”

Peters has never made an interleague appearance over his three seasons in the majors but won his only start against the Pirates pitching for the Miami Marlins last year. The southpaw worked around a two-run homer and tossed six innings in a 7-2 victory in April 2018.

Notable Trends

The Angels are:

  • 6-2 in their last eight Wednesday games.
  • 24-9 in their last 33 interleague home games.
  • 7-1 in their last eight interleague home games vs. right-handed starters.

The Pirates are:

  • 0-9 in their last nine during game 3 of a series.
  • 0-7 in Archer’s last seven starts following a quality start in his previous appearance.
  • 0-6 in Archer’s last six starts.

*****5-Star Pick*****

Angels OVER 5 runs (-121)

Though hell and fire will not be released with Archer’s 6.66 ERA on the road, the Angels should be able to rough him up enough to clear the number. Opponents have scored five or more runs against the Pirates in five of his last seven starts, and the Angels have plated five or more in three of their last four contests.

****4-Star Pick****

OVER 5.5 runs first 5 innings (-115)

The over has comfortably hit in the first two games of this series, continuing a trend for Pittsburgh as the five-inning over is 8-4 in its last 12 road games and 6-4 in Archer’s 10 road starts.

The over is 8-3 in the Angels’ last 11 overall and had delivered in Peters’ first two starts before facing the Red Sox last time out.

***3-Star Picks***

Angels ML (-131)

Archer’s track record against the Angels is enough to be leery of taking the run line, but Pittsburgh’s struggles are also enough to warrant taking Los Angeles on the money line. Peters’ starts have usually come down to him making one or two mistakes, and the hedge here is he makes fewer than Archer in helping Los Angeles avoid the sweep.

OVER 10 runs (-110)

The over is on a six-game run in this series after delivering in the first two contests and 13-3 in Pittsburgh’s last 16 Wednesday games. The over has also hit the last four times Archer has pitched in game three of a series and gone 7-1 in Pittsburgh’s last eight matchups with left-handers.

On the Angels side, the over is a robust 19-6-2 in the last 27 during game three of a series and 9-3 in its last 12 on Wednesday. The over improved to 5-1 in Los Angeles’ last six against starters with a plus-1.30 WHIP.

The run climbing the half-run to 10 flat takes some of the confidence out of this pick, but the over is 6-2 in the Angels’ last eight and 8-3 in Pittsburgh’s last 11, and therefore still the play.

OVER 3.5 runs first 3 innings (+115)

This is worth a flyer for plus-money as both teams have shown a penchant for scoring and giving up runs early — as they have in the first two games of this series. Los Angeles has seen four or more runs in the first three innings in seven of its last eight games, while Pittsburgh has cleared 3.5 runs in four of its last six on this road trip.

**2-Star Pick**

Pirates 3-way ML first 5 innings (+130)

This pick gets the rare “2” designation for confidence because there is nothing compelling in either direction to make this selection feel like anything besides a toss-up. The Pirates have led at the midway point in their last three games but had done so just three times in their previous 17 contests (3-11-3).

The Angels have been awful in the first five, leading twice in their last 18 (2-15-1). The recency bias makes Pittsburgh the pick, but with both teams slumping, it is hard to figure out exactly who is trending positively.

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