The Pittsburgh Pirates head home to host a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays starting Friday, May 5 at 6:35 p.m. ET from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Both teams got swept in tough midweek series — Toronto in a four-game set against the Boston Red Sox, the Pirates by the Tampa Bay Rays — and enter play Friday looking to avoid extending their losing streaks. Chris Bassitt (3-2, 5.18 ERA) will take the mound for the Jays, while Pittsburgh counters with ageless lefty Rich Hill (3-2, 4.18).
The Blue Jays are -140 moneyline favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook, making the Pirates +120 underdogs with the over/under set at nine. My last 14 moneyline and over/under bets have gone a combined 10-4, so let’s make some picks.
Blue Jays-Pirates picks: Friday, May 5
Day to day: RP Zach Pop (hamstring)
Out: RP Adam Cimber (back), RP Mitch White (elbow), SP Hyun Jin Ryu (elbow), RP Chad Green (elbow)
Day to day: SP Vince Velasquez (elbow)
Out: SP Wil Crowe (shoulder), RP Rob Zastryzny (elbow), 1B Ji-Man Choi (Achilles), RP Chase De Jong (back), SS Oneil Cruz (ankle), SP JT Brubaker (elbow), RP Jarlin Garcia (biceps), RP Max Kranick (elbow)
Chris Bassitt vs. Rich Hill
Bassitt has seen his numbers improve drastically after a disastrous first start of the season in which he gave up nine runs in 3.1 innings. In his latest outing, Bassitt allowed four runs on two hits and four walks with seven strikeouts over five innings in a loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Hill continues to stick in MLB rotations at 43 years of age and will make his seventh start with the Pirates. He threw 6.1 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits and no walks with five strikeouts in a win over the Washington Nationals last time out.
The Pirates and Blue Jays both bring in above-average offenses, as they both rank inside the top 10 in on-base percentage. Toronto games have reached double digits in five straight, so let’s go with that streak to continue.
Pick: Over 9
Toronto should have the pitching edge in this spot as Bassitt has strung together several productive seasons in a row and looks to be finding that form again in his new home. Overlook the poor season-long numbers and ride with the road favorites on Friday night.
Pick: Blue Jays