Just two games out of first in the NL Central, the Pirates open a four-game set with the struggling Diamondbacks, making it a perfect time for Pittsburgh to take the top spot in the division standings. Arizona is 14 games out of first in the NL West and has nothing left to play for this season except to spoil other teams’ chances at making the playoffs. Can Arizona do some damage to the Pirates’ playoff chances? This would be a good series to do so, but we like Pittsburgh in the opener.

Pirates hand Locke the ball to open series

With four games on tap in the desert this weekend, the Pirates will start the series with lefty Jeff Locke. Locke is 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA this season. Locke needs to rebound badly from his previous start. He allowed 10 hits, three of them home runs, and will need to focus more on pounding the strike zone to keep the ball in the yard tonight. Pittsburgh cannot afford to mess around in this series. Anything less than three wins should be unacceptable.

Diamondbacks playing out the string as season heads into August

Who would have thought that the Diamondbacks would be looking towards the off-season this early in the summer? We certainly did not see it coming until they opened the year with 18 losses in their first 23 games played. Arizona could look considerably different on the field tonight if they move some major pieces of their roster prior to this afternoon’s trade deadline. 

How easy is it to bet against the Diamondbacks? Well, they have just 47 wins this season and are double-digit games out of first in both the NL West and the NL Wild Card races. We will bet on MLB action at BetOnline.ag tonight. We will bet 15 percent of our bankroll on the Pirates and the -112 money line as they grab the series opening victory.

Pirates vs Diamondbacks 7-31-14