Pittsburgh Bringing Young Pitching Talent On Labor Day

Chad Kuhl getting ready to pitch

Mark Lathrop

Monday, September 5, 2016 2:31 PM GMT

Our MLB handicapper grabs a Labor Day line to bet early, as this should move in the direction of value. Read on and make your MLB pick early so you can relax at the BBQ on Monday afternoon.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Pirates
With the Pittsburgh Pirates desperately clinging to wild card hopes in the National League they host the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday afternoon on Labor Day. Coming into Sunday’s games, the Cardinals had the 2nd wild card spot, with the Pirates just 2.5 games back at 67-66 on the year. Pittsburgh has lost 5 games in a row coming into Sunday though, so momentum is definitely on the Cardinals’ side in this game. Visiting Cardinals have opened as -115 favorites at BookMaker. The O/U total has opened at 8.5 runs, with a slight lean to the under at -120 at BetOnline.

 

Cardinals
Let’s investigate who the Cardinals are throwing on the mound in Adam Wainright. Wainright is coming off of a strong performance against the Brewers, in which he only allowed one earned run and three hits over seven innings. He didn’t get the decision in the game; however, as the Cardinals won the game in the 10th inning. Wainright hasn’t won a decision since July 16th, a span of 8 games. Although Wainright has a winning record at 9-8, he is in the midst of the worst, and by that I mean simply average, the season of his career. In 2016 he has posted a 4.53 ERA, 129/44 K/BB rate, 1.34 WHIP, and .274 batting average allowed. There are some signs that this has been a result of bad luck, though, as Wainright is carrying his worst batting average on balls in play in his career at .325. That’s 30 points higher than his career average. After adjusting for luck, his fielding independent ERA actually sits at 3.58 on the year – still the highest mark since 2008 for Wainright.

The splits for Wainright give some more insight into his struggles this year. Over his career, he has allowed left-handers to hit at a .255 clip against him. In 2016, the average allowed against left-handers has skyrocketed to .305. Again, luck seems to be at play with that number, as Wainright’s batting average on balls in play against left-handers is .367, and just .292 against righties.

Since we don’t have a named starter yet for the Pirates let’s talk about their bullpen, because they get used a lot. In fact, the Pirates’ bullpen has thrown the 5th most innings in the MLB coming into Sunday. What’s not good, is that they are ranked 24th in the MLB in overall effectiveness.

 

Pirates
It looks like the starter for this game will be recently called up, Chad Kuhl, who has pitched very well in AAA this year. He hasn’t faced the Cardinals in his career but has been solid so far, with a 3.70 ERA over 9 starts and 48.2 innings pitched. Kuhl features a mid-90’s fastball, slider, and changeup, and has allowed just a .240 batting average allowed so far this year. His BABIP is sitting at .262, which unfortunately for him and opposite of Wainright, should regress up about 20 to 30 points.

With Kuhl allowing 3 or less earned runs in each of his last six starts, and Wainright a veteran that should still be trusted, I’m looking to the total here for wagering value. I like the hook here at 8.5 on the low side, and will be taking the Under at 8.5 -120 at BookMaker while it is still available. Look for this line to come down to 8 at some books so make this an early Monday MLB Pick.

 

Free MLB Pick: Under 8.5 -120
Best Line Offered:  at Bookmaker

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