St. Louis Cardinals (61-59; 61-52-7 O/U) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (58-62; 48-66-6 O/U)
MLB: Friday, August 18, 2017 at 7:05pm EST
Line: St. Louis -130/Pittsburgh +110
The Pittsburgh Pirates will host the St. Louis Cardinals in an NL Central battle Friday evening from PNC Park. The Cardinals will send 25-year old right-hander Carlos Martinez to the hill, and 25-year old right-hander Trevor Williams will take the mound for the Pirates. The Cardinals currently lead the season series 5-4.
Martinez Eyes Third Straight Victory
Carlos Martinez will get the call for the 25th time of the year, aiming for win number ten. Martinez tallied another Quality Start in his previous outing, allowing three runs in six innings to the Braves and recorded the win to boost his record to 9-9. The young right-hander is having a solid season, sporting a 3.56 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 154.1 innings logged. He faced the Pirates last month and was terrific, limiting them to two runs in seven innings, and now sits at 4-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 74.2 career innings against Pittsburgh. Josh Bell is 0 for 6 against Martinez, while Gregory Polanco is 12 for 24 with three RBI’s, and Andrew McCutchen is 6 for 33 with three RBI’s. Kolton Wong is swinging the bat well, driving in nine runs over his last ten games, and features a .404 average this month. The 26-year old second baseman is having a strong season, sporting a .310 average with two homers and 32 RBI’s. Wong is 4 for 15 with one RBI against the Pirates this season.
The Cardinals are averaging solid 4.65 runs per game, ranking them 17th in the Majors, and feature a .260 team batting average. The St. Louis pitching has been their greatest strength, sporting a 3.86 team ERA, good for sixth in the Major Leagues.
Williams Targets Just Second Home Win of Season
Trevor Williams will make his 25th appearance and 19th start of the season, aiming for win number six. Williams conceded four runs (three earned) in six innings to the Blue Jays in his previous start and was charged with the loss to drop his record to 5-5. Overall the rookie right-hander is having a promising season, posting a 4.19 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 111.2 innings logged. He took on the Cardinals last month and was solid, allowing two runs (one earned) in 5.2 innings and finished with the no decision, and has now conceded a total of seven runs (four earned) in ten career innings against St. Louis. Starling Marte has not been productive since returning from his lengthy suspension, as he has only registered one RBI this month. The career .286 hitter is hitting a weak .250 with two home runs and 12 RBI’s in 40 games played. Marte is 0 for 4 against the Cardinals this season.
The Pirates are currently averaging 4.18 runs per game, ranking them 27th overall, and are hitting .245 as a team. The Pittsburgh pitching has been strong, posting a 4.21 team ERA, positioning them 12th in the Majors.
The St. Louis Cardinals are:
- 4-1 in Martinez’ last 5 starts.
- 27-12 in Martinez’ last 39 starts against a team with a losing record.
- 11-5 in their last 16 games against the Pirates.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are:
- 0-5 in Williams’ last 5 starts following a Quality Start in his previous appearance.
- 3-8 in Williams’ last 11 starts overall.
- 0-4 in their last 4 games overall.
I am siding with the Cardinals in this matchup. Martinez already limited the Pirates to only two runs in seven innings earlier this season, and he features a strong 3.50 career ERA against Pittsburgh, so I am confident backing him. Furthermore, I don’t completely trust the rookie Trevor Williams against the Cardinals lineup that has been productive this month. Overall, the Cardinals are peaking at the right time as they find themselves in the race for the top spot in the NL Central.