Pittsburgh Pirates (67-75; 58-78-6 O/U) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (73-68; 72-61-8 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 2:15pm EST
Line: St. Louis -180/Pittsburgh +170
The St. Louis Cardinals will collide with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the three game series finale Sunday afternoon from Busch Stadium. The Pirates will send 30-year old right-hander Ivan Nova to the hill, and the Cardinals will counter with 26-year old right-hander Michael Wacha. The Cardinals own an 8-6 lead in the season series.
Nova Looks to Get Back on Track
Ivan Nova will get the nod for the 28th time of the season, looking to get back in the win column. Nova struggled again in his latest outing, conceding five runs (four earned) in three innings to the Cubs and was charged with the loss. The veteran right-hander is having a rough second half and now owns a 4.11 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP accompanied with a 11-12 record in 168.2 innings of work. He has held the Cardinals to five runs to go with a 1-1 record in 13.2 innings this season. Dexter Fowler is 3 for 10 against Nova, while Matt Carpenter is 1 for 3, and Jedd Gyorko is 2 for 6 with two RBI’s. Josh Bell has feasted on the Cardinals pitching this season, smashing four homers along with 14 RBI’s. The 25-year old first baseman is having a tremendous season, sporting a .263 average with 24 home runs and 83 RBI’s. Bell has driven in five runs over his last five games.
The Pirates are scoring an average of 4.15 runs per game, ranking them 28th in the Majors, and are hitting .245 as a team. The Pittsburgh pitching possesses a decent 4.28 team ERA, placing them 13th in the Major Leagues.
Wacha Eyes Third Straight Win
Michael Wacha will make his 27th start of the year, aiming for his third straight win. Wacha allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings to the Padres last time out and picked up the win. The young right-hander has been shaky as of late and now features a 4.21 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP accompanied with a 11-7 record in 141 innings logged. He has conceded six runs in 10.2 innings against the Pirates this season, and now owns a 4-3 record with a 4.39 ERA in 13 career starts against the division rivals. Josh Bell is 1 for 5 against Wacha, while Andrew McCutchen is 12 for 31 with three RBI’s, and Josh Harrison is 2 for 20. Paul DeJong has fared well against the Pirates pitching this season, belting three home runs with eight RBI’s. The 24-year old shortstop is having an outstanding rookie season, sporting a .284 average with 21 home runs and 55 RBI’s in 88 games. DeJong has collected six RBI’s over his last ten games.
The Cardinals are scoring an average of 4.73 runs per game, ranking them 14th overall, and are hitting .260 as a team. The St. Louis pitching has been solid, sporting a 3.90 team ERA, good for seventh in the Major Leagues.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are:
- 4-1 in Nova’s last 5 Sunday starts.
- 5-1 in their last 6 Sunday games.
- 4-1 in their last 5 games against a right-handed starter.
The St. Louis Cardinals are:
- 0-6 in Wacha’s last 6 starts in the third game of a series.
- 1-5 in their last 6 games in the third game of a series.
- 1-6 in Wacha’s last 7 starts against the NL Central.
I am siding with the Pirates in this contest however my stronger play is on the total. Nova has held the Cardinals to only two runs in 13.2 innings this season, so I am confident backing him. Furthermore, Wacha is scuffling right now, posting a poor 6.23 ERA over his last six starts, and the Pirates scored five runs against him in the previous meeting, plus Pittsburgh’s lineup is hitting a combined .313 against Wacha.
Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates +170
Both Nova and Wacha have not been as sharp as of late, and Nova is especially struggling on the road. The Cardinals should have a strong afternoon at the plate against Nova who has allowed 12 runs over his last two starts, and the over is 5-1 in Nova’s last six starts in the third game of a series. Wacha has also been struggling in the second half, and the over is 20-5-2 in his last 27 starts against the NL Central.