Cardinals' Offense Is No Match For Pirates Slacking Defense

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 6:24 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 6, 2016 6:24 PM UTC

The month of September is a wacky month to be betting baseball, you never what can happen and with expanded rosters, the variables can go in any number of different directions.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Pirates  
Exhibit A is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clint Hurdle's club had themselves right back in the thick of wild card chase and after sweeping a four-game series at Miller Park, which has been the house of horrors, Pittsburgh left Milwaukee feeling spry.

However, a trip south to Wrigley Field was anything but friendly for the Bucs and a return home was no oasis, as they were swept by the Brewers and were clobbered by St. Louis in series opener yesterday 12-6, leaving with a seven-game losing streak. Pitt now trails the Cardinals and Giants by four games in the loss column in wild card chase and have been leapfrogged by the New York Mets.

For MLB picks I am 33-16, +14.35 units this season and here is how I see this NL Central showdown.


Pitching Matchup - Weaver vs. Vogelsong
This will be Luke Weaver's fifth start (1-2, 3.86 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) and the 23-year old fits the St. Louis way of development. Weaver has a lively fastball and a good changeup and is still learning breaking pitches. He's slender, but a quality athlete and like most young players, is better at home than on the road and this will be his four-start away from St. Louis and he has a 4.80 ERA in that time.

Ryan Vogelsong (3-4, 3.56, 1.33) returned from being beaned and was quite effective and efficient until running into Cubs in the last start. The 39-year old right-hander has 2.55 ERA at PNC Park this season in a mixture of relief appearances and starts. Though his command is waning with advancing years, the cutter he's been using has been his best pitch. Vogelsong is 4-7 with 5.14 ERA in four starts against St. Louis.


Offensive Numbers
After scoring six times in four contests and losing three of them, the Redbirds have tallied 17 runs in last two outings, both victories. St. Louis is having a highly unusual season, having a losing record at home and incredible 42-27 mark (+17.1 units) on the road, far and away the best in baseball. In part how that has accomplished is scoring 5.4 runs per contest, which is No. 1 in the big leagues for teams in the traveling uniforms.

The Pittsburgh offense chose the wrong time to go in the deep freeze, averaging only 3.1 RPG during this losing streak, which has included being shutout three times. From here on out, this is where the stars like Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco have to take over if the Pirates are to win tonight and return to the postseason for a third consecutive year.


Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The MLB odds at BetOnline (A+ at SBR's Sports Betting Sites Ratings) has St. Louis at -129 with total recently elevated to 9. With last night's winner, the Cards are 4-3 at PNC this season, but 11-15 since 2014, with total at 14-11-1 OVER. Both bullpens are in the Top 5 of ERA in NL, with Pittsburgh third in save percentage (75%) and the Cardinals seventh (68%).


Game Outcome
When a team has lost this many games in a row, it is tricky to bet for or against them and trying to guess when the streak will end can be costly. The fundamentals are Pittsburgh is in a slump and has a pitcher without a great deal of success against an opponent who has the best road record in the sport and who has the ability to score runs. This sound like St. Louis picks and is.


Free MLB Play: St. Louis -129
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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