St Louis Cardinals (63-59 SU, 58-64 RL, 63-57-2 O/U) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (58-64 SU, 62-60 RL, 50-66-6 O/U)
When: 7:00 PM EDT, Sunday, August 20, 2017
Where: PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA
Lines: Pittsburgh -108/ St Louis -102
Sunder evening MLB action and a pair of National League Central foes will square off as the St Louis Cardinals battle it out with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA in the final game of their four-game series. Pitching Probables: Mike Leake (7-11, 3.88 ERA) will toe the rubber for Cardinals and he will be opposed by Ivan Nova (10-10, 3.77 ERA).
Here Come The Cardinals
The St Louis Cardinals are normally a 2nd half team and they have been hot of late. They did come into this series on a three-game slide, but have won the first two games and have now won 10 of their last 13 games to move to within 1.5 games of first in the National League Central. Here they come and with the Cubs being very mediocre of late, they have a great shot at catching them and getting into the postseason. For much of the year, they have been led by their pitching, but of late they have had the hottest offense in the league as they have averaged a whopping 8.08 rpg lover their last 12 games. They have need that offense as their pitching has allowed 6.55 rpg over their last nine games. The offense is nice, but this team really needs their pitching to return as they make a push for a playoff berth. The Cardinals will send to the mound Mike Leake and he has gone 7-11 with a 3.88 ERA in 24 starts on the year, including 0-2 with an 8.80 ERA in his last three starts and 4-5 with a 4.43 ERA in 11 starts on the road. Leake has gone 10-12 with a 5.04 ERA in 37 games (35 starts) during the month of August and he has gone 10-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 31 starts against the Pirates, including 4-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 17 starts here at PNC Park.
The Cardinals have been a below average offensive team so far as they come in ranked 13th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.75 rpg, while also ranking 7th in hitting at .261 and 20th in homers with 144. On the mound, they have been solid as they come in ranked 6th in the league in ERA at 3.93, while also ranking 11th in WHIP at 1.30.
The Pirates Are Just About Out Of It, Thanks To Their Pitching
The Pirates have not been a very good offensive team this year and for much of it the reason why they have stayed in the race has been their pitching, but right now they have really been struggling on the mound and it has just about put them out of the race for a playoff spot. The Pirates have allowed 22 runs in the first two games of this series and have now posted a 6.35 ERA in their last 10 games, including an ERA of 7.16 from their pen over that stretch. They have allowed 7.67 rpg during their six-game slide (prior to Saturday), which has now put the Pirates at 6.5 games out of first in the National league Central and 9.0 games out of a wildcard slot. The Pirates have gone 32-28 at home and have averaged 3.93 rpg and have allowed 4.72 rpg in those games. Ivan Nova will toe the rubber for the Pirates in this one and he has gone 10-10 with a 3.77 ERA in 24 starts on the year, including 0-2 with a 3.93 ERA in his last three starts and 7-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 starts here at home. Nova has gone 17-8 with a 3.93 ERA in 31 career starts at night and he is 10-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 16 career starts here at PNC Park, while against the Cardinals he has gone 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in one start. That lone start was against the Cardinals on the road back in April. He took a 2-1 loss in the game and allowed two ERs on five hits in eight innings of work in the process.
Pittsburgh has been a poor offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 27th in the league in scoring, putting up just 4.25 rpg, while also ranking 23rd in hitting at .247 and 29th in homers with 115. On the mound, they have been decent so far as they come in ranked 13th in the league in ERA at 4.32, while also ranking 13th in WHIP at 1.36.
St Louis is:
- 7-19 in Leake’s last 26 starts vs. the National League Central
- 12-25 in their last 37 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- 6-2 in their last eight home games vs. a team with a winning record
- 5-0 in Nova’s last five home starts
The Pirates have really been struggling of late as they have lost their last six games in a row, prior to Saturday night, while the Cardinals have been on fire offensively and have won 10 of their last 13 games. Mike Leake gets the nod for the Cardinals and he has really struggled of late as he is 0-2 with an 8.80 ERA in his last three starts and struggling in August is nothing new for him as he is now 10-12 with a 5.04 ERA during this month in his career. Ivan Nova has really pitched well at home where he has gone 7-2 with a 2.70 ERA on the year and he may just be the one starter to slow down this St Louis offense. He faced them earlier in the year in St Louis and allowed just two ERs in 8.0 innings of work in a 2-1 loss. I look for a better result in this one as a desperate Pirates’ team picks up a huge win.
Pick: Pittsburgh -108
The first two games of this series put up a tone of runs, but still the Under is 21-8-1 in Pittsburgh’s last 30 home games. Something has to give here. The Pirates have been torched on the mound of late, but Ivan Nova has a solid 2.70 ERA at home and his home starts have averaged just 7.70 rpg. Nova did face the Cards once this year and that game finished 2-1 and he allowed just two ERs in 8.0 innings of work in that game. Mike Leake has struggled of late, but he has a 2.92 ERA in 17 career starts in this park and the Pirates have averaged just 3.93 rpg here at home. The Under is 4-1 in Leake’s last five games against the Pirates. I expect a low scoring game in this one.