Two hurlers who have combined to lead their teams to 32 wins in 43 starts take the hill in St. Louis where the Cardinals are small chalk on the MLB odds vs. the Pirates.
With all of the sluggers in the two lineups, it turned out to be back-to-back walks that did the Pittsburgh Pirates in Tuesday night as the St. Louis Cardinals took the series opener, 4-3.
St. Louis parlayed a couple of free passes with a couple of singles and a sac fly to just get past the Pirates in the series opener. ESPN now directs its cameras at Game 2, coverage beginning at 8 PM (ET) and a super pitching matchup for anyone who tunes in. Pittsburgh sends Gerrit Cole to the mound against Michael Wacha, the Cardinals priced right around -120 at most shops on SBR's live MLB odds. 5Dimes is offering a 6½ run total that is carrying a -115 price tag for the 'over.'
Cardinals 2-0 vs. Pirates With Wacha On Hill
Cole goes head-to-head against another top NL hurler for the second consecutive start, taking on Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers last Friday in Pittsburgh. That game ended up going to the Pirates by a 5-4 count, neither hurler figuring into the decision and both slightly off their games. Pittsburgh's victory was the fifth in the last seven outings by Cole, leaving the Bucs 16-6 behind their ace on the year (+8.0 units).
One of those 16 dubyas came at the expense of the Cardinals a little more than a month ago, Cole's only assignment against them in 2015. The righthander burned 114 pitches in seven innings while allowing two runs, but is still seeking his first win over the Redbirds in St. Louis with his two previous starts ending in Pirates losses (13.1 IP, 6 ER).
Wacha has posted consecutive scoreless outings, each lasting seven frames and ending in shutout decisions vs. the Rockies and Cubs. The former Texas A&M star helped the Cards to consecutive victories over the Pirates in early-May, earning a no-decision with nearly seven shutout innings in the start at Busch while allowing two earned runs in six frames at PNC. Wacha has made five career starts vs. Pittsburgh, including Game 2 of the 2013 NLDS, and the Cardinals are 4-1 in those games while their young ace has accumulated a 1.58 ERA along the way.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
A veteran of 18 MLB seasons, St. Louis native Ron Kulpa is scheduled to work the plate in the Hump Day affair at Busch Stadium. The 46 year old brings a level 10-10-1 O/U/P record on the season into the game, his last two games under the mask going over the totals on the MLB betting boards. Home teams are 13-8 (12-6 as chalk), the Cardinals 4-1 the last five times Kulpa had dish duty in St. Louis, 'under' bettors also cashing four times out of five.
Nice weather is again in store, and I believe it's one that lives up to the hype on the mound with a pitchers duel. The 'under' will be my free MLB pick.
MLB Pick: Pirates-Cardinals Under 6½ (+105) at 5Dimes