Pittsburgh evened this series at a game apiece with a 7-5 victory Saturday. So the Pirates and Cardinals get to play a rubber match Sunday afternoon at PNC.
Sunday's Game 3
By: Ron Patrick
Game 2 Recap
Pittsburgh rallied from a 5-3 deficit with a run in the fifth and three in the sixth, then held on for a 7-5 victory. The Pirates won as -105 favorites on Saturday's betting line, and the game, like Friday's series opener, played OVER its MLB betting odds total.
In fact, St. Louis has played five OVERS in its last six games, while the Bucs have played four OVERS in their last five contests.
Pittsburgh actually took an early 3-0 lead, but St. Louis roared back with a five spot in the fourth. The Pirates got to within a run on a Neil Walker homer in the fifth, then used a pair of bases on balls to ignite a three-run sixth.
St. Louis had a chance to take an early lead, with runners on second and third with no outs in the second inning, but Yadier Molina lined into a 4-5-4 triple play.
Pittsburgh starter Vance Worley gave up five runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings, while
St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez got tagged for seven runs on seven hits and four walks through 5 1/3 innings. No wonder the game played OVER.
Game 3 Betting Odds
As of early Sunday morning Pittsburgh and Jeff Locke were favored by around -115 over St. Louis and fellow lefty Tyler Lyons, with a total of 7.5 runs.
Locke is two-for-five on quality starts this year, but 0 for his last three. Last Tuesday he gave up four runs in seven innings against Cincinnati, and over his last three starts he's allowed 13 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings. On the season Locke has given up 16 ER and 42 base-runners through 29 2/3 innings; Pittsburgh is 3-2 in Locke's starts, with the totals skewing OVER by a 4-1 margin.
Locke has started five times against St. Louis in his short ML career, giving up 11 ER through 26 1/3 innings; the Pirates are 3-2 in those five games, with the totals going 3-2.
Lyons is 0-for-one on quality starts this season, after giving up three ER in 4 1/3 innings against the Cubs last Tuesday. He also made four starts down at Triple-A Memphis this spring, allowing seven runs through 22 innings of work.
Lyons has started twice against Pittsburgh in his ML career, giving up seven ER and 12 hits in 12 innings; St. Louis lost both those games, and both games played UNDER.
Sunday's Batting Splits
St. Louis owns a .323 team OBP and a .342 team slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers this season.
Pittsburgh owns a woeful .252 OBP and a .352 slugging percentage against lefties.
Game 3 Free Pick
Neither starting pitcher stands out to us, so we'll call that match-up a wash. But the St. Louis lineup earns the check-mark against the Pirates' pitiful numbers vs. lefties. So we will place our MLB pick on the Cardinals to take Sunday's series finale. Also, in thinking this game could easily get to 5-3 we like the OVER.
Free MLB Picks: St. Louis +107 and OVER 7.5 runs at GT Bets
Saturday's Game 2
By: Ron Patrick
Game 2 Betting Odds
As of early Saturday AM most of the MLB betting odds market was listing Pittsburgh and Vance Worley at around -115 over St. Louis with Carlos Martinez, with a total of 7.5 runs.
Game 1 Recap
St. Louis got three-run homers from Matt Holliday and Kolten Wong and a quality outing from Michael Wacha on its way to an 8-5 series-opening victory Friday night. The Cardinals won as +100 “underdogs” on Friday's MLB betting board, and the game played OVER its total of seven when Wong whopped his big dong in the top of the seventh.
Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano was charged with six runs – five earned – through 6 1/3 innings, with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
On a personnel note St. Louis slugger Matt Carpenter sat out Friday's game with what's been called “fatigue,” and he will miss this series.
Worley is two-for-five on quality starts this year. Last Sunday he held these Cardinals to one run and four hits through six innings, which was a nice rebound effort after giving up four runs in six innings against the Cubs just before that. For the season Worley has allowed 13 earned runs and 42 base-runners (hits + walks) in 30 innings; Pittsburgh is 2-3 in Worley's starts, with the totals skewing toward the UNDERS by a 4-1 margin.
Since the beginning of last season Worley has started twice against St. Louis, allowing five runs and 13 hits in 11 innings; the Pirates lost both those games, by scores of 5-4 and 3-2.
Martinez is four-for-five on quality starts this season, but coming off his worst outing, after getting clipped for seven runs in less than four innings last Monday by the Cubs. But prior to that Martinez had allowed just five runs through his first four starts. On the season Martinez has given up 12 ER and 39 base-runners through 28 2/3 innings; St. Louis is 5-0 in games he's started, with the totals going 2-2-1.
In his only career start against Pittsburgh, last July, Martinez gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-4 Cardinals victory.
Saturday's Batting Splits
St. Louis owns a .344 team OBP and a .432 team slugging percentage against right-handed pitching this season.
Pittsburgh owns a .293 OBP and a .346 slugging percentage against righties.
Game 2 Free Pick
St. Louis is the hot team at the moment, and should be ridden for all it might be worth. Cardinals sticks are also hot, so we're thinking OVER for tonight's MLB pick.
Friday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Cardinals-Pirates Game 1 Betting Odds
As of early Friday morning most of the MLB odds market was listing Pittsburgh and Francisco Liriano at right around -120 over St. Louis and Michael Wacha, with a total of seven runs.
Also, Bovada is chalking the Pirates at -120 to win this series, with the Cardinals “getting” -110.
St. Louis just took three of four games at home from the Cubs this week, winning 10-9 Monday and 7-4 Tuesday, losing 6-5 Wednesday but winning Thursday 5-1. Just before that the Cardinals swept three games from Pittsburgh, and just before that they took the last three games of a four-game series with Philadelphia. So St. Louis is 9-1 over its last 10 games.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, just snapped a five-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over Cincinnati Thursday. Just before that series the Pirates got swept three games by the Cardinals, and just before that they lost two of three against the Cubs. So Pittsburgh is 2-7 over its last nine games.
Big-picture, at 21-7 St. Louis owns the best record in the Majors, and a 6.5-game lead over second-place Chicago in the NL Central. Pittsburgh, at 13-15, trials the Cardinals by eight games.
This is the second meeting this season between these two teams; as mentioned above, the Cardinals swept three games from the Pirates at Busch Stadium last weekend, by scores of 2-1, 2-1 and 3-2, winning each game in their last at-bats, in extra innings. As one might guess all three of those games played UNDER the totals.
Last year St. Louis took the season series from Pittsburgh 11 games to eight.
Liriano is four-for-five on quality starts this year, and two for his last two. Last Saturday he held this St. Louis lineup to one run and three hits through eight innings, and just before that he held Arizona scoreless on two hits through 6 1/3 innings. On the season Liriano has allowed seven runs and 29 base-runners (15 on walks) in 32 1/3 innings; Pittsburgh is only 1-4 in his starts, but two of those losses came by scores of 1-0 and 2-1. Also, only one of his starts has played OVER.
Since the beginning of last season Liriano has started five times against the Cardinals, allowing eight runs and 35 base-runners through 27 innings; the Pirates went 2-3 in those starts, and three of those games stayed UNDER.
Wacha is also four-for-five on quality starts this season, and St. Louis is 5-0 in Wacha's starts. Last Sunday he held these Pirates scoreless on five hits through 6 2/3 innings, and for the season he's allowed just seven runs and 34 base-runners through 32 2/3 innings. Also, the totals have leaned toward the UNDERS in Wacha's starts by a 3-2 margin.
In four career starts against Pittsburgh Wacha has permitted just four runs and 22 base-runners through 26 innings; the Cardinals are 3-1 in those starts, with the totals splitting 2-2.
Friday's Batting Splits
St. Louis owns a .332 team OBP but a .322 team slugging percentage against left-handed pitching this season.
Pittsburgh owns a .291 OBP and a .346 slugging percentage against righties this year.
Totals Betting Trends
Pirates home games are 7-4-2 on the OVERS this season, even though games played at PNC Park have averaged just 7.4 runs.
Game 1 Pick
St. Louis is hot, Pittsburgh is not, so we believe the value MLB pick on tonight's line resides with the Cardinals. Also, Liriano and Wacha own some nice recent numbers against tonight's opponents, so we're thinking this will be a low-scoring affair.
Free MLB Picks: St. Louis +110 at WagerWeb and UNDER seven runs (+108) at Pinnacle