Pirates To Avoid Sweep On Wednesday Night Against Leake & Cardinals

Pittsburgh Pirates  team members greeting each other

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 1:49 PM GMT

The Pirates have been on a losing streak yet find themselves in a good matchup for this game. Our MLB handicapper breaks down the pitching matchup and makes his Wednesday MLB Pick.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Pirates
I missed big in the first game of this series, as my Under pick was blown out of the water early as these offenses have exploded over the last few days. It's been a rough week or two, as I'm 3-7 ATS in MLB coming down the stretch, but I'm willing to grind it out if you are. I'm pretty much guaranteed a winning MLB season at this point, which is more than I can say for my Mariners.

Another team tanking and rapidly losing their playoff hopes is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Losers of eight straight games coming into Wednesday night, the Pirates find themselves 5.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final wild card spot. The loss on Tuesday night was especially damning, as the Pirates were one out away from winning the game before closer Tony Watson allowed three solo home runs in a row to blow the save 9-7. St. Louis won that game as -115 moneyline favorites while the total went well over the posted line of 8.5 runs.

In this game, the Pirates are favored at -123 on the moneyline at 5Dimes, while the O/U total has been posted at 8 runs across the board. The lean for the total is on the Over, which is understandable given the offense we've seen over the last few days.

Starting for the Pirates is Jameson Taillon, who has had more surgeries than a MASH unit on his way to the big leagues. A returner from Tommy John surgery and most recently, a hernia surgery, Taillon's return is a welcome one for the Pirates as he is one of their most heralded prospects. He throws pretty hard in the mid-90's, but also has a big yanking curveball that sits around 80 MPH, even slower than the changeup he throws in the mid-80's. On the season despite a 16.4% HR/FB rate, Taillon has put up a 3.25 ERA, 67/12 K/BB rate (very good), 1.07 WHIP, and .244 batting average allowed. His command of the strike zone has been impressive, and his critics usually focus on his wildness within the strike zone, i.e. meatballs. Taillon has been nails at home so far this year, posting a 2.70 ERA in Pittsburgh over 50 innings pitched.

Taking the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night is Mike Leake, who is returning to the rotation following an IR stint due to an illness. Leake has had a strange issue with right-handers this year, as his splits against them have reversed from his career numbers. On his career, Leake has allowed just a .252 batting average against righties, but in 2016 that number has hit a very poor .292. He's faded down the stretch, that illness aside, as Leake has posted a 5.71 ERA since the All-Star Break and .308 batting average allowed.

There are two team trends in this game that are worth looking at; the first being that the Cardinals are 42-27 SU on the road which is good for +17.6 units. The Pirates are terrible against right-handed starters at 49-60, good for -21.2 units on the season. With this matchup, though, I see these trends normalizing back to the center a bit. I can't trust Leake in his first start back after illness, and Taillon has the talent to break the Pirates losing streak. The Pirates are desperate for a win and I like their prospects in this spot, so I'm taking them -123 on the moneyline at 5Dimes for my Wednesday night MLB Pick.

Free MLB Picks: Pirates -123
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
2016 MLB Record: 52-39-4, +10.10 Units

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