Game: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates
Time: 7:05p.m. ET
Starting Pitchers: Adam Wainwright vs. Wil Crowe
Odds: Cardinals -163, Pirates +153
St. Louis has won three of its last four games but is still 11 games behind NL Central leader Milwaukee. Making up any ground and getting into the playoff race may be a lost cause for a lineup that is 21st in batting average, 23rd in OPS, and 26th in runs scored per game. Paul Goldschmidt (.268, 18 HR, 63 RBI) and Nolan Arenado (.261, 22 HR, 68 RBI) are having decent seasons, but guys like Matt Carpenter are underachieving. Carpenter is hitting .199 for the season.
Despite the Cardinals woes, they are facing a Pittsburgh team that is probably the worst in the National League. The Pirates are dead last in the majors in run production scoring just 3.59 runs per game. In their last 11 games, Pittsburgh has managed to score at least four runs just once. The Pirates hit a collective .234, which ranks 23rd in MLB and they rank 29th in OPS (.668).
For Pittsburgh, the offensive shortcomings are not due to underachievement. It’s simply that the Pirates don’t have that much talent. They are last in MLB in home runs and, when they do hit, it’s mostly singles. Teams don’t generate a lot of runs hitting singles all the time.
St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright has faced the Pirates once this season. Back in June, Wainwright pitched six innings against the Pirates allowing six hits and just one earned run. He also struck out eight as the Cardinals grabbed a 3-1 victory. Wainwright has been very good in his last four starts going seven innings in each one. St. Louis won each of those four starts. Wainwright is now 10-6 with a 3.48 ERA.
The Pirates will go with Wil Crowe, a right-hander who is 3-6 with a 5.47 ERA this season. In his last start against Cincinnati, Crowe lasted just four innings and gave up three earned runs. All three of those runs came on solo homers. If Crowe is anything, he is inconsistent. In the start prior to the Reds, he held the Phillies to one hit and no runs in six innings. Pittsburgh won 7-0.
St. Louis has had plenty of success against the Pirates in recent years. In the last 14 games with Pittsburgh, the Cardinals are 11-3 straight up. St. Louis has been even better on the road winning seven straight at PNC Park. Remember, the Cardinals have won three of their last four games. They were favored in all four.
There is also value on the Cardinals on the run line. St. Louis at -1.5 (-105) is a strong wager considering in the seven wins over the Pirates this season, the closest score was a 3-1 St. Louis win. The Cardinals won 4-1 last night.
The only factor that gives Pittsburgh any value whatsoever is that they are playing at home. However, remember that the Cards have beaten the Pirates in seven straight at PNC Park.