St. Louis Cardinals (81-72; 77-67-8 O/U) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (69-85; 60-87-6 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 1:35pm EST
Line: Pittsburgh -116/St. Louis +106
The Pittsburgh Pirates will host the St. Louis Cardinals as the NL Central rivals conclude a three game series Sunday afternoon from PNC Park. The Cardinals will send 25-year old right-hander John Gant to the hill, and the 25-year old right-hander Jameson Taillon will toe the rubber for the Pirates. The Cardinals own an 11-6 lead in the season series.
Gant Makes First Start of Season
John Gant will make his sixth appearance and first start of the season, aiming for his first victory. Gant allowed two runs in one inning to the Reds in his latest relief appearance earlier this week. The young right-hander has now conceded a total of four runs in 9.1 innings pitched this season. He posted a 4.86 ERA in 50 innings with the Braves in his first shot at the Majors last season. Gant has allowed two runs (one earned) in 2.1 career innings against the Pirates. Tommy Pham continues to produce at the dish, collecting seven RBI’s over his last 10 games. The 29-year old left fielder is having a breakout season, sporting a .310 average with 21 home runs and 68 RBI’s. Pham has driven in four runs against the Pirates this season. The Cardinals are making a big push for the second Wildcard position, now 1.5 games back of the Rockies heading into Saturday’s action.
The Cardinals are currently averaging 4.78 runs per game, ranking them 11th in the Majors, and feature a .259 team batting average. The St. Louis pitching has been solid, sporting a 3.90 team ERA, good for seventh in the Major Leagues.
Taillon Targets First Career Win Against Cardinals
Jameson Taillon will take the mound for the 24th time of the season, aiming for his first win in over a month. Tallion allowed two runs in five innings to the Brewers in his previous start and was charged with the loss. The young right-hander has been inconsistent this season, and as a result owns a 4.73 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP accompanied with a 7-7 record in 121.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 10 runs in 16.1 innings spread across three starts against the Cardinals this season, and owns a 5.14 ERA with an 0-1 record in four career starts against the rivals. Matt Carpenter is 4 for 11 against Taillon, while Yadier Molina is 1 for 7, and Dexter Fowler is 1 for 8. Gregory Polanco is struggling, driving in only one run in 37 at bats this month. The 26-year old right fielder has been unable to get in a groove this season, hitting .248 with 10 home runs and only 33 RBI’s. Polanco owns a poor .190 average with four RBI’s against the Cardinals this season.
The Pirates are only averaging 4.02 runs per game, ranking them 28th in the Majors, and are hitting .243 as a team. The Pittsburgh pitching is carrying a 4.26 team ERA, good for 13th in the Majors.
The St. Louis Cardinals are:
- 4-0 in their last 4 games against the Pirates.
- 4-0 in their last 4 road games.
- 16-5 in their last 21 games against a team with a winning record.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are:
- 1-4 in Taillon’s last 5 home starts.
- 1-5 in their last 6 home games.
- 7-22 in their last 29 games against a team with a winning record.
I am siding with the Cardinals in this contest. Taillon has struggled against the Cardinals this season, conceding a total of 10 runs in 16 innings, and he owns a poor 5.25 ERA at PNC Park this season. Furthermore the Pirates simply don’t score enough runs, so I am not concerned with Gant on the hill for the Cardinals. Pittsburgh has scored two or fewer runs in seven out of their last ten games, plus the Cardinals are in a battle for the second Wildcard position.