Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#3901 St. Louis Cardinals vs.
#3902 Pittsburgh Pirates
Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 11:35am EDT
Written by Mark Ruelle

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The St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates will play the third and final game of their 3-game set on Sunday morning in Pittsburgh. The Cardinals have quietly moved up and have the 6th best record in the National League and are in the mix in the NL Central Division. The Pirates are just 4-6 in their last ten games and sport one of the worst run differentials in baseball. On the mound on Sunday will be right-hander Steven Matz (3-3, 6.03) for the Cardinals vs. right-hander Bryse Wilson (0-2, 5.67) of the Pirates. First pitch is a special Peacock TV time of 11:35AM EST.

In the Cards

The St. Louis Cardinals continue to be one of the model franchises in baseball, continuously ranking among the best farm systems in baseball and consistent winners. The Cards tapped into their farm system recently by recalling two of the team's best prospects in 2B Nolan Gorman and left-handed starting pitcher Matthew Liberatore. The two youngsters represent the 6th and 7th rookies brought up to the big club this season and, despite the heavy dose of youth, the Cardinals remain a contender in the NL playoff picture thus far. On Saturday, the Cardinals used a 4-run second inning and 4.1 innings of no-hit relief to take their second straight from Pittsburgh, 5-4. Libertore went 4.2 innings and allowed 7 hits and 4 runs in his major league debut.

St. Louis has had to juggle their lineups quite a bit this year as they've battled injuries on a number of fronts and relied on a number of first-year players. Despite this, the Cardinals are 9th in runs scored this season and 3rd in batting average. Leading the way has been all-star 3B Nolan Arenado. Arenado leads the team in home runs, RBI, total bases and slugging percentage. Another veteran, Paul Goldschmidt, leads the team in average, hits and OBP. On the mound Sunday morning will be the right-hander Matz who is coming off of two solid starts after being hit hard by the Giants three starts ago. Matz has thrown 11.2 innings over his last two starts and allowed 10 hits and five runs. Matz has been susceptible to the gopher ball in recent games, giving up 7 home runs in his last 3 starts. Matz has made 8 starts in his debut season with the Cards and been roughed up in three of them, which explains his high ERA. One of those rough starts, however, was his first start against these same Pirates. He gave up 9 hits and 7 runs and didn't get past the third inning.

Wakeup Call

The Pirates will roll out of their own beds and drive to the ballpark for an early affair to wrap up this 3-game series. The Bucs have struggled to put runs on the board as of late, scoring just 1.8 runs per game over the last ten heading into Saturday's game. The Pirates lineup had a chance on Saturday to take on a rookie pitcher making his major league debut. The Pirates were unable to fully take advantage and had two, 2-run innings including a 2-run home run from Bryan Reynolds in the fifth inning but it would not be enough as the Pirates were held hitless by the Cardinals bullpen down the stretch. The Pirates fall to 16-23 on the season with their 2nd straight loss of the series.

The Pirates lineup has fizzled over the last ten games and it has shown through in the overall statistics. Pittsburgh is 29th in runs scored, 25th in hits per game and 28th in slugging percentage. In addition, despite being just 6 games under .500 heading into Saturday's game, the team owns a -71 run differential this season. On Sunday, in the series finale, the Pirates will send Wilson to the mound to try and slow down the Cardinals. Wilson has made 7 appearances this season with 4 starts. He was pounded in his last start, lasting just 2.2 innings against the Dodgers and allowing 8 hits and 6 runs. He started against the Cardinals earlier this season as well and went 4 innings and allowed 5 hits and 3 runs including a home run. On the season, Wilson has pitched 27 innings and allowed 31 hits and 17 earned runs.

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Matz is facing the Pirates at the best possible time with the teams' recent struggles to put runs on the board. Matz has started to come into his own over his last two starts and is starting to resemble the pitcher the Cardinals hoped they got when they signed him in the offseason. Matz has had difficulty with the long ball this season but the Pirates are just 26th in MLB in home runs per game. Wilson has been used as filler this season for the Pirates and has been hit hard in nearly all of his four starts. While Matz has the advantage of being a swing and miss pitcher, Wilson is not known for his ability to rack up strikeouts. Look for the Cards veteran offensive weapons to put some runs on the board and roll to a win in the series finale.

Take the Cardinals with the money line.

Prediction: St. Louis ML

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The Pirates are one of the worst run-scoring teams in baseball at just 29th in the league. They are also averaging just 1.8 runs per game in their last ten games heading into Saturday's game. Heading into the series, the Pirates are 8-11 at home to the over. The Cardinals are the 9th highest run-scoring team in baseball. They are 5-5 to the over in their last ten heading into Saturday's game. In games pitched by Matz, the Cards are 3-5 to the over. Weather could cut into the over in this one as well as there is 86% chance of some rain at game time.

Take the under.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.