Off Sweep of the Cubs, Pirates Are the Play at St. Louis

ivan nova pirates

Willie Bee

Monday, April 17, 2017 1:32 PM GMT

Mired in their worst start in 20 seasons, the St. Louis Cardinals return home as short favorites on the MLB odds in Monday night's series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

MLB Season Record: 4-9 (-5.10)

That stench coming off the Mississippi? It ain't exhaust from the barge traffic chugging up and down the mighty, muddy river. Nope, it's the stinky start to 2017 for the St. Louis Cardinals, who own the worst record in the NL thanks to an inept offense and league-worst pitching staff.

Coming off a sweep in New York at the hands of Yankees, St. Louis looks to get back on track beginning Monday at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates. ESPN will carry the contest with the first pitch coming at 7:05 PM (ET). The mound duel is between Pittsburgh's Ivan Nova and Lance Lynn of St. Louis.

A consensus on the money line puts the Cardinals at -125; most shops are also carrying 8 for the total, Bookmaker juicing the 'over' at -120.

 

Lynn Seeking 1st Win Since September 2015

Thanks to brooming the Cubs in Wrigley over the weekend, Pittsburgh has climbed back to even on the season at 6-6 and 1½ games behind Cincinnati in the NL Central. Nova is also level on the year with a win and a loss, beating the Braves in his season debut and losing to the Reds last week, both contests taking place at PNC Park. Tonight marks his career cherry against the Cardinals.

Having lost six of their last seven, the Cardinals sit in the NL Central caboose, 4½ back of the Reds. They have dropped both of Lynn's assignments to open the campaign, most recently last Tuesday in Washington where he worked five and allowed six runs (4 earned). In 17 starts and a couple of relief appearances vs. Pittsburgh in the last six seasons, Lynn stands 5-5 in the W-L columns with a 4.73 ERA.

 

Series Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

These two have been going at it since Chester A. Arthur's administration and are closing in on 2,500 regular-season meetings. The Pirates have the overall advantage, but it's the Cardinals who have edged out the Bucs the past three season series. The Redbirds also have been tough to beat in the rivalry at the latest incarnation of Busch Stadium, 56 of the last 90 played in St. Louis going to the home team. It was even on this diamond a year ago, the clubs splitting 10 games with totals also running 5-5 O/U.

There's rain all around Arch City this morning, but the weatherman promises it will clear out by early afternoon and leave just a few clouds by game time. A muggy 70º is the forecast for Lynn's first pitch with a light breeze from the east (in from right). The call for this game is to stay away from the Cards in their current state and make my free baseball pick on the Bucs.

MLB Free Pick: Pirates +122Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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