Cardinals Get the Call on Road at Pittsburgh

Willie Bee

Friday, April 27, 2018 12:05 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 27, 2018 12:05 PM UTC

St. Louis leads a 4-team group within two games of each other at the top of the NL Central, and we have a free MLB pick for the Cardinals-Pirates duel in Pittsburgh on Friday.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Pirates

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Free MLB Pick: Cardinals -132Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Forget all of the postponements caused by weather and consider this scheduling quirk: The St. Louis Cardinals have already seen the Mets twice while the Pirates have faced the Tigers twice before the old National League foes and division rivals collide with each other for the first time in 2018.

Part of an early 4-team battle royale in the NL Central, St. Louis is on top by percentage points over the Brewers with Pittsburgh 1½ behind in third and the Cubs two games behind. Friday’s 7:05 PM (ET) first pitch renews the rivalry between the Cards and Bucs for the 137th–straight year, and climbing the PNC Park mound to get things rolling is Steven Brault (2-1, 4.44) while Miles Mikolas (3-0, 3.46) goes for the visitors. The morning nickel line at 5Dimes finds the Redbirds -132 with an 8½-run total split evenly high and low.

Mikolas Making 1st Career Start At PNC

The Pirates will be the fifth NL Central foe Mikolas has faced in 2018 after seeing the Brewers and Reds twice each. His last two starts came against the Reds – once in Cincinnati and the other in Arch City – and Mikolas beat them both times with seven efficient innings. Control has been spot on for the 29 year old, Mikolas walking just two while striking out 20 in 26 frames, and after allowing three homers in his season debut, the righthander has given up just one in the last three outings combined. Only a handful of Pirate hitters have seen Mikolas before, all of those at bats coming 4+ years ago before he pitched in Japan.

Brault’s last three starts have ended up in the loss column for Pittsburgh, though he pitched well (5.1 IP, 2 ER) last Saturday in Philadelphia where he earned a no-decision as a +150 underdog on the MLB odds. The southpaw saw the Cardinals twice last season, once in a long relief role and the other appearance as a starter, combining to hurl eight innings while surrendering three earned runs.

Rivalry Info, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

St. Louis won its 4th-straight season series last year by taking 11-of-19 matchups, though the Pirates did win 6-of-10 in Pittsburgh. ‘Under’ bettors also got paid off in six of last year’s meetings at the intersection of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers where games have run 7-4-1 O/U/P this campaign.

They might have to play this one between raindrops with a 30%-60% chance of showers in the Iron City area beginning this afternoon and carrying over into Saturday. Playing well on the road and in the midst of a good run, my free baseball pick is on St. Louis.

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Some rain, a doubleheader, and a walkoff homer from Corey Dickerson led us to a series win vs. Detroit! #RaiseIt

All of the scenes from PNC ??
??: https://t.co/12kaAZA2hL pic.twitter.com/KF5VBzYyOT

— Pirates (@Pirates) April 27, 2018
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