Cardinals vs. Pirates Game 3
By: Ron Patrick
As of early Sunday AM most baseball books were chalking St. Louis and Adam Wainwright at right around -155 over Pittsburgh and newcomer Edinson Volquez, with a total of seven. The Cardinals could also be gotten at around +105 on the run line.
Also follow our Yankees vs. Blue Jays series coverage
Volquez will be making his first start for his new team Sunday, after going 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA last year for San Diego and the Dodgers. In his first appearance this year he threw two innings of relief Thursday against the Cubs, allowing just one hit, striking out a pair.
Volquez started twice last year for the Padres against St. Louis, giving up eight runs and 12 hits in 11 innings. San Diego split those two games.
Wainwright will be making his second start of this season, after throwing seven innings against Cincinnati Monday, allowing three hits and no runs, striking out nine, in a 1-0 St. Louis victory.
Wainwright has won 72 games over the last four seasons, after going 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA last year.
Wainwright started five times against Pittsburgh last season, including twice in the playoffs, and beat 'em four times, including in Game 5 of that NLDS. In total Wainwright threw 37 innings against the Pirates last year, allowing just nine ER and 26 hits, walking seven while whiffing 35.
Free Pick for Sunday
Wainwright holds a clear advantage in the pitching match-up, having been tough on Pittsburgh last season, and we have no idea what the Pirates may get out of Volquez. So we like St. Louis to take Sunday's game. And since we like to gamble we'll give the run and a half and go with the Cardinals on the run line for our free MLB pick for Sunday.
Cardinals vs. Pirates Game 2
By: Ron Patrick
Pittsburgh won as a -115 favorite Friday, and the game went OVER its total of seven runs when the Bucs put up a three-spot in the sixth. Pittsburgh goes for the series victory when the teams meet for Game 2 of this series Saturday evening (6 pm ET).
Early Saturday AM we found the Pirates and Francisco Liriano at -132 at Pinnacle, while the Cardinals and Joe Kelly could be bet at +127 at 5Dimes.
Also, the total was proffered at seven.
Saturday's Pitching Match-Up
Liriano (16-8, 3.02 last year) will be making his second start of the season, after throwing six scoreless innings against the Cubs Monday, striking out 10 but getting a no-decision in a game Pittsburgh won in extra innings.
Liriano started four times against St. Louis last year, including once in the playoffs, and came out a winner every time. He gave up just four ER and 13 hits in 30 innings, walking seven while whiffing 25.
Kelly, making his first start of this season, went 10-5 last year with a 2.69 ERA, starting 15 games and making 22 relief appearances. He gave up 124 hits in 124 innings, walked 44 and struck out 79.
Kelly started four times against Pittsburgh last year, including once in the playoffs, and fared well, allowing just four ER and 20 hits in 23 1/3 innings, striking out 18 but walking 13. The Cardinals won three of those four games, and thanks to some solid run support all four games played OVER their totals.
St. Louis finished 32 games above .500 last year, but went just 19-23 against left-handed starters.
Pittsburgh went 76-55 last year against righties.
Saturday's Free Pick
We give Liriano the advantage in the pitching match-up. Also, we're wondering how much St. Louis misses Carlos Beltran and David Freese; the Cardinals have been held to two runs or fewer in three of their first four games. So we'll go with the Pirates for our free pick on Saturday's game.
Cardinals vs. Pirates Game 1
By: Ron Patrick
These teams split 24 games last year; how do we think this series might play out?
As of early Friday morning the best line we could find on Pittsburgh with Gerrit Cole was the -117 offered at Pinnacle, while St. Louis with Shelby Miller could be gotten at +111 at Bet365.
Also, The Greek was chalking the Pirates at -115 to win this series, with the Cardinals “getting” -105.
Pittsburgh opened this season by taking two of three games from the Cubs, missing out on the sweep by losing 3-2 Thursday. The Pirates scored a total of just seven runs in the series, but held Chicago to six, as two of the three games played UNDER their totals, and the other ended on a PUSH.
Pittsburgh began the season with a wins OVER/UNDER of 84, getting right around 4/1 to win the NL Central.
St. Louis opened its season by taking two of three games from the Reds in Cincinnati, winning Thursday's rubber match 7-6.
The Cardinals began this season as the favorites to win the Central again at a price of around -150, with a wins total of 91.
Gerrit Cole went 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA as a rookie after getting the call in June of last year. He allowed fewer hits, 109, than innings pitched, 117, walking 28 and whiffed 100.
Cole didn't start against St. Louis during the regular season last year, but did start twice against the Cards in the playoffs, and didn't fare too badly, allowing three ER and just seven baserunners (hits + walks) through 11 innings. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh only won one of those two games.
For the season the Pirates went 12-7 in Cole's starts, with the totals going 8-11.
Shelby Miller had a great rookie campaign last year, going 15-9/3.06, giving up fewer hits, 152, than innings pitched, 173, walking 57 and striking out 169.
But for some reason Miller had problems with Pittsburgh last year, starting four times, giving up 13 ER and 38 baserunners in 22 innings. The Cardinals lost all four of those games.
St. Louis went 21-10 in Miller's starts last year, with the totals going 14-17.
Pittsburgh took the season series from St. Louis last year 10 games to nine, but the Cardinals then beat the Pirates in an NLDS three games to two.
Also, the totals trended toward the OVERS in this series last year by a 16-7-1 margin, even though Cards-Pirates games averaged a rather normal 8.5 runs per. Apparently the oddsmakers were underestimating totals in this series just a bit last year.
Game 1 Free Pick
This should be a good one, matching two pretty good young pitchers. Last year Cole was solid in two starts against the Cardinals, while Miller had trouble with the Pirates. But Miller is better than that, and we expect a good showing from him tonight. We also give St. Louis the edge with the sticks. So in a game that looks darn close to a pick 'em we'll go with the underdog Cardinals for our free MLB pick for Friday.