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MLB

Pittsburgh Pirates vs Houston Astros Series Preview

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The struggling Houston Astros are coming to town to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in an important three-game series. If you look at the records of the two teams, the Astros at 11-30 and the Pirates at 24-17, you would think the Pirates would be able to steamroll a very weak Astros team. However, as we learned last season, the Pirates can sometimes play to the level of their competition, leaving them vulnerable to bad losses. Let’s take a sneak peek at the series, shall we?

Game one: Jordan Lyles (1-1, 8.36 ERA) vs Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.28 ERA)

The Pirates should be able to hit Lyles very well in the first game of the series. Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen has a .615 batting average against Lyles in his career, while Garrett Jones has a .500 batting average against him.

Only three current Astros players have faced Gomez; Jose Altuve (.333), J.D. Martinez (.500) and Jason Castro (.000). Gomez spent his career in the American League with the Cleveland Indians while the Astros were still in the National League, so he didn’t pitch against the Astros much.

I think the Pirates should be able to win this one pretty easily, I’ll predict a 7-3 Pirates win.

Game  two: Erik Bedard (0-2, 6.67 ERA) vs A.J. Burnett (3-4, 2.73 ERA)

In what will be Bedard’s return to PNC Park, he will look to improve upon his terrible start to the season against a relatively tough Pirates lineup. The only active Pirates player to have faced Bedard in his career is Brandon Inge, and he has a .462 average against him.

The Astros are much more familiar with Pirates’ starter Burnett, however they haven’t had much success. In 86 at-bats collectively, the Astros only have 17 hits among the entire team. That goes for a .198 average.

I’m obviously picking the Pirates in this one, simply because Bedard has been awful and Burnett dominates the Astros. I’ll go with a 5-2 Pirates win.

Game three: Bud Norris (4-4, 4.32 ERA) vs Jeff Locke (3-1, 3.15 ERA)

The only current Pirate that has much success against Norris in his career is Neil Walker, with a .429 batting average. Michael McKenry has a .400 average against him, but only in 12 at-bats.

Locke has a very small sample size against the Astros, however a few Astros players have hit him well. Altuve, who may not play in this series, has a .500 average against Locke, while Brett Wallace is 3-5 (.600) against him.

In a game against the Astros’ best pitcher, I think the Pirates will drop this one 5-4.

Series prediction: Pirates win the series, 2-1.