MLB Picks: Pirates vs. Cardinals Series Coverage

Darin Zank

Monday, July 7, 2014 12:12 PM GMT

St. Louis is on the verge of sweeping this series, after winning again Wednesday night 5-2. Pittsburgh will try to salvage one game when the teams meet for this series finale Thursday evening (7:15 pm ET).

 

10th July
Pirates vs. Cardinals Game 4

By: Ron Patrick

 

Thursday's Betting Odds
In the early betting action the best price we could find on St. Louis with Shelby Miller was the -114 offered at Bookmaker, while Pittsburgh and Edinson Volquez could be gotten at +106 at Bet365.

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Wednesday Re-Hash
St. Louis rapped out 14 hits while getting a quality outing from Lance Lynn on its way to a 5-2 victory. The Cardinals won as -130 favorites on Wednesday's MLB betting line, and the game sneaked 'under' its total of 7.5 runs.

Pittsburgh is now two-for-25 with RISP in this series.

On a couple personnel notes St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina left Wednesday's game with a sprained thumb, and is very questionable for Thursday's game, while Pittsburgh OF Sterling Marte (21 SB) has been placed on the bereavement list.


Thursday's Starters
Miller (7-7, 4.15), by our strict standards, is just 4/18 on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last four. Last Saturday he gave up three runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings against Miami, and over his last four outings he's allowed 16 runs and 29 hits in 19 2/3 innings.

For the season Miller has allowed 101 hits in 104 innings, walked 50, which is way too many, and struck out 72. St. Louis is 8-10 in Miller's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' by an 11-7 margin.

Miller has already started three times against the Bucs this season, allowing seven runs through 16 1/3 innings; the Cards won two of those three games.

Volquez (7-6, 3.88) is 8/17 on quality starts, and three for his last three. Last Saturday he held Philly to one run through seven innings, and over his last three starts he's given up just two runs through 21 innings.

For the season Volquez has allowed 91 hits in 102 innings, walked 35 and struck out 68. Pittsburgh is 9-8 in games Volquez has started, with the totals leaning 'under' 10-6.

Volquez has already started three times against the Cardinals this season, allowing 10 runs in 16 innings; the Pirates won two of those three games.


Free Pick for Thursday
We thought Pittsburgh was the hot team coming into this series, and picked it so, but have come up totally empty so far. But maybe today is the day. So we'll go with the Pirates one more time for our free pick on this series finale.

 

9th July
Pirates vs. Cardinals Game 3

By: Ron Patrick

 

Wednesday's Betting Odds
As of Wednesday morning, the best price we could find on St. Louis and Lance Lynn was the -130 offered at BetOnline, while Pittsburgh and Brandon Cumpton could be gotten at +125 at Will Hill.


Tuesday Re-Hash
Kolten Wong popped a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to give St. Louis a 5-4 victory. The Cards won as -115 favorites on Tuesday's MLB line, and the game, which featured three home runs, played 'over' its total of 7.5 runs.

We liked Pittsburgh for the second straight game for our free MLB pick, and for the second straight night got to the night inning tied, only to lose on a Cardinals long ball.


Whirling Wednesday
Lynn is 10/18 on quality starts this season, and four for his last five. Last Friday he held Miami scoreless through 6 2/3 innings, which removed the bad taste in his mouth from his previous outing: a bombing at the hands of the Dodgers.

On the season Lynn has allowed 102 hits in 108 innings, walked 40 and struck out 97. St. Louis is 11-7 in Lynn's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' 10-7. 

Since the beginning of last season Lynn has started seven times against the Pirates, allowing 26 ER through 37 2/3 innings; the Cards went 3-4 in those games, with the totals going 5-2.

Cumpton (3-2, 4.61) will be coming back up from the Minors to make the start tonight, taking the place of the injured Gerrit Cole. In his earlier stint with the Big Club this season Cumpton went 4/9 on quality starts, allowing 58 hits in 53 innings, walking 12 while striking out 32.

Pittsburgh is 5-4 in Cumpton's starts this season, with the totals going 5-4.

Down at Triple-A Indianapolis this spring Cumpton went 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA.

Cumpton has started once in his career against the Cardinals, holding them scoreless on three hits through seven innings of a 6-0 Pirates victory back in July of last season.


Free Pick for Wednesday
We try not to base one pick on the results of previous picks, but in believing Pittsburgh can still salvage something from this series we'll go with the Pirates once again for our free MLB pick on Wednesday's game.

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8th July
Pirates vs. Cardinals Game 2

By: Ron Patrick

 

Tuesday's Betting Odds
In the early betting St. Louis and Carlos Martinez were favored by around -130 over Pittsburgh and Vance Worley, but many outlets quickly dropped the Cardinals to around -120. Also, the total sat at 7.5 runs.


Monday Re-Hash
St. Louis went off as a -180 favorite Monday night, and got seven shutout innings from heavy Adam Wainwright, but Pittsburgh got seven innings of one-hit ball from Charlie Morton. The game went into the bottom of the ninth 0-0, but Adams ended it with a one-out, two-run dong off Pirates reliever Justin Wilson.

We took a chance with our free MLB pick Monday night, going against Wainwright, but while Pittsburgh won the hit column 8-3, it also went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

The totals have leaned toward the 'unders' in this season series by a 5-3-2 margin, and seven of the 10 games have seen seven or fewer runs scored.


Twirling Tuesday
Martinez (2-3, 3.91) is 0/4 on quality starts this season, because he's yet to go six innings. But that doesn't mean he's been pitching poorly. Last time out he held the Giants to one run through five innings, and over his last four outings he's allowed five ER through 18 1/3 innings. On the season Martinez has allowed 47 hits in 53 innings, walked 23 and struck out 46; but while his numbers aren't all that great, St. Louis has won all four of his starts.

This will be Martinez' first-ever start against the Pirates, but he has faced them five times in relief this season, allowing four ER and six hits through 6 1/3 innings.

Worley (2-1, 2.28) is three-for-four on quality starts since joining the Pirates three weeks ago. Last time out, he gave up three runs in seven innings against Arizona, and just before that he held the Mets to one run through seven innings. Overall, the former Phillie and Twin has allowed 21 hits in 27 2/3 innings this season, walked five and struck out 18. Pittsburgh has split his four starts, with the totals leaning 'under' 3-1. Worley earned a shot with the Bucs by going 3-2/4.30 at Triple-A Indianapolis this spring, walking just four while whiffing 43 in 46 innings.

This will be Worley's first start against the Cardinals since August of 2012.

Free Pick for Tuesday
We missed with Pittsburgh Monday night, but the Pirates still look like the hotter team. So we'll go with the Buccos, at the +110 offered at Will Hill, for Tuesday's free MLB pick.

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7th July
Pirates vs. Cardinals Game 1

By: Ron Patrick

 

Pirates-Cardinals Betting Odds
In the early betting on Monday's series opener St. Louis and Adam Wainwright were chalked at around -195 over Pittsburgh and Charlie Morton, but many shops then dropped the Cardinals to around -170. Also, most books opened the total at 6.5 runs, then bumped it to seven.


Series Set-Up
Pittsburgh just swept three games from Philadelphia over the weekend, winning Sunday 6-2. The Pirates have won five series in a row and 12 of their last 15 games.

St. Louis, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games in Miami, blowing a late lead in losing Saturday 6-5, then falling Sunday 8-4. The Cardinals are 2-2-1 in their last five series, going 8-10 over their last 18 games.

So Pittsburgh, at 47-41, now occupies second place in the NL Central, 4.5 games behind first-place Milwaukee, while St. Louis, at 47-42, trails the Pirates by a half-game.

Pittsburgh leads this season series five games to four, with the totals going 3-4-2. But outside of an outburst or two, Pirates-Cardinals games this year have trended toward the low-scoring. 


Monday's Starters
Wainwright (11-4, 1.89) is 14/17 on quality starts this season, and five for his last five. Most recently he held the Giants scoreless on four hits through 7 2/3 innings, and over his last five outings, he's allowed just four runs through 38 2/3 innings. On the season Wainwright has allowed just 87 hits in 124 innings, walked 24 and struck out 106.

St. Louis is 13-4 in Wainwright's starts, with the totals tilting toward the 'unders' by a 9-5 margin. Since the beginning of last season, Wainwright has started seven times against the Bucs, holding them to 11 ER and 45 base-runners (hits + walks) in 52 innings; St. Louis went 5-2 in those games.

Morton (5-9, 3.30) is 8/17 on quality starts, and four for his last five. Last time out he limited Arizona to one run through six innings, and over his last eight starts he's given up more than two ER just once. On the season, Morton has allowed 93 hits in 106 innings, walked 38 and struck out 89. Pittsburgh is 8-9 in Morton's starts, with the totals going 7-8. Since the beginning of last season Morton has started five times against the Cardinals, allowing 15 ER and 43 base-runners in 25 1/3 innings; the Pirates lost all five of those games.

In the battle of the bullpens for this series Pittsburgh ranks 11th in ERA at 3.39, going 27/41 on save conversions, while St. Louis ranks 17th in ERA at 3.57 while going 29/40 on save chances.


At the Bat
Pittsburgh ranks No. 1 in team OBP at .334, and 16th in scoring at 4.1 runs per game.

St. Louis ranks 15th in OBP at .317 but 29th in both homers with just 52 and in scoring at just 3.7 RPG. The Cards have also been held to three or fewer runs in seven of their last 10 games.


Pirates-Cardinals Betting Trends
St. Louis has been playing an interesting split on the totals this season; the Cards have leaned toward the 'unders' by a 47-35 margin overall, but games played at Busch have leaned toward the 'overs' 20-19.

St. Louis has won eight of the last 10 meetings in this series played at Busch.


Free Pick for Monday
It's difficult to go against Wainwright, and we don't usually like going with the flow, but in looking for value we'll go with Pittsburgh, at the +155 offered at Bovada, for our free MLB pick on Monday's series opener.

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