The St. Louis Cardinals (22-23, 11-12 away) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (14-34, 9-14 home) begin the first of a five-game set on Thursday night. The two teams will face each other in a doubleheader on Friday, followed by single games on Saturday and Sunday.
Pittsburgh owns a 3-2 head-to-head record over the Cardinals this season. The first pitch of the NL Central tilt is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EST at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Cardinals are favorite in the matchup on the moneyline at -165, and you can get them on the run line at -105.
What to Know – St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis is entering the weekend having played five games in three days against Milwaukee. The schedule won’t get any lighter for the Cardinals, who are making up a handful of games that were postponed earlier in the season due to numerous positive COVID tests. St. Louis five games out of first place in a tie for second with the Cincinnati Reds.
Dakota Hudson (3-2, 2.92 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) takes the mound for the Cardinals. Hudson has had an exceptional season, making seven starts and throwing 37 innings. In those innings of work, the right-hander has surrendered 12 earned runs on 23 hits and struck out 31.
Paul Goldschmidt leads the Cards offense with a .310 batting average and .439 on-base percentage. Goldschmidt has collected 45 hits in 45 games and six home runs with 18 RBI. Brad Miller leads the club in both home runs (7) and RBI (24).
What to Know – Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates limp into the series on an eight-game losing skid that includes series sweeps at the hands of the Kansas City Royals and the Cincinnati Reds. Pittsburgh is last in the NL Central, 7.5 games back of Milwaukee, and has the worst record in the league.
Steven Brault (0-3, 5.06 ERA, 1.61) gets the nod for the Pirates. The southpaw is still looking for his first win of the season and has yet to pitch over five innings in a game. This season Brault has thrown 26.2 innings and allowed 15 earned runs on 26 hits.
Erik Gonzalez and Colin Moran pace a Pittsburgh offense that ranks near the bottom in almost all offensive categories. Gonzalez leads the team in batting average (.255) and runs batted in (19) while Moran has the team-highs in home runs (8) and on-base percentage (.335).
The Pick is In
Dakota Hudson’s first outing of the season was against the Pirates. In that game, he allowed four earned runs. Hudson has not allowed over three earned runs in a start since, including just four over 11 innings this month.
Pittsburgh is at the bottom of the division with little to play for but pride, while the Cards continue to improve their chances in the playoff picture. St. Louis should win this and win comfortably. Our play is St.Louis on the run line.