We have the National League Central Division matchup for Sunday afternoon when the St Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates meet for game three of their three-game weekend series. St Louis opened the series with a 7-2 Friday night victory and while the Cardinals will be looking to sweep this series, it will be interesting to see if Pittsburgh can keep them from doing so.
This preview was written prior to Saturday baseball contests and all opinions are based on Friday night MLB action.
Cardinals Take Game One of This SeriesSt Louis enters Saturday riding a two-game winning streak and has won five of its last ten games. The Cardinals are 5.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs and is currently tied with the Cincinnati Reds for second place in the division. Infielder Brad Miller leads the Cardinals with seven dingers with a team-high 24 RBI this season.
🚨 DYLAN CARLSON 🚨 pic.twitter.com/6YjGy6Kz8Y— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 19, 2020
The Cardinals pitching staff ranks tenth in baseball with a 4.00 team ERA and the bats check in at number 21 with a .239 team batting average over 1446 at-bats this season.
St Louis has yet to name a starting pitcher for Sunday afternoon and whoever does take the bump is up against a Pittsburgh offense with a 24 percent strikeout rate and .125 ISO over 1822 plate appearances this season.
Pirates Offensive Woes ContinuePittsburgh enters Saturday looking to end a two-game losing streak and has lost nine of its last ten games. The Pirates are last in the NL Central standings and will likely miss the playoffs as they are 16 games outside of the top spot in the Central. Infielder Colin Moran leads the Pirates with eight home runs and infielder Josh Bell has a team-high 19 RBI.
The Pirates bats rank twenty-eighth in baseball with a .218 team batting average and the pitching staff is ranked twenty-first with a 4.98 team ERA over 433.1 innings pitched.
Righty Joe Musgrove (0-5, 5.74) is the Pirates probable starting pitcher for Sunday and over 26.2 innings pitched has scattered 27 hits, 17 earned runs with five bombs, and 14 walks. Musgrove has struck out 34 and is up against a Cardinals offense with a 23 percent strikeout rate and .136 ISO over 1393 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Cardinals are trying to catch the Cubs while distancing themselves from the Reds and this is a good opportunity for them against Musgrove. The veteran righty allows too many walks and bombs and hasn’t pitched very well at all this season. The Cardinals hit right-handed pitching well and it will be tough for Musgrove. The Pirates are a bad offensive team and the Cardinals have the arms to shut them down. I will take the Cardinals to defeat the Pirates.
Full-Game Total Pick
Vegas hasn’t posted a total yet but the Cardinals bats boom while the Pirates bats don’t. Musgrove does strike hitters out and St Louis does have a high strikeout rate and that will likely help to keep the score down. I have zero faith in the Pirates offense and I suspect this game will end with a score of 6-1 or 6-2 making an under nine runs or higher the play. I will take the UNDER in this contest.