St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Date and Time: Sunday, August 20, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: PNC Park
Probable Pitchers: Mike Leake vs. Ivan Nova
Cardinals vs. Pirates TV Coverage: ESPN
Unlike the Buccos, the Cardinals have been red hot in August tallying wins in 9 of their 15 played games ( $267 ). Included in that mix was a nine-game win streak that propelled them right back into the thick of the NL Central pennant race. Mike Matheny’s squad recently had its jets cooled in Beantown, but they’ll head to the Steel City winners in five of their last 10 road games.
The key to the Redbirds’ resurgence has been the offense with it averaging 7.5 runs over their last 10 games. Rookie shortstop Paul DeJong has been a huge addition to the offense with him ripping the cover off the ball to the tune of a .300 average while launching a team-high 18 home runs. He and Tommy Pham have been the unsung heroes of this roster turning it around offensively.
The Pirates will return home for this series off an ugly mini sweep in the Land of Cheese. They were in a position to earn a split on Wednesday afternoon, but Juan Nicasio spit the bit in the eighth and then Corey Knebel cut through the three batters he faced like a hot knife through butter to earn the Brew Crew the come-from-behind victory.
The loss pushed the Pirates 5.5 games out in the division, and 9.5 games out in the NL wild card race. Since going on that mini hot streak at the end of July, Pittsburgh has been nothing short of ordinary. The offense is largely to blame with it mustering an average of just 2.5 runs over the last six games. They’ll look to rebound at home where they’re the owners of a 32-26 record ( $115 ).
These teams have locked horns nine times this season with the Cardinals coming out on top five times. Pittsburgh managed to take two of three at home when these teams last met in the Steel City in the middle of July, but only managed a 2-4 record in its six games played at Busch Stadium. That makes the home team 6-3 in the 2017 rivalry with the under cashing at a money-making 7-2 clip.
Cardinals vs. Pirates Picks
Mike Leake will enter his 25th start of the season looking to bounce back from an ugly showing in Boston where he was ripped for nine hits and 8 ER. The loss dropped him to 7-11 for the season and he’ll toe the bump in the finale 0-2 with an 8.80 ERA in his last three starts. His counterpart, Ivan Nova, will be gunning for a third quality start in four tries against a Cardinals squad he’s 0-1 against to date with a 2.25 ERA and 0.63 ERA. He’s been the Buccos best starting pitcher to date, and his team needs him to come up big in this game. I think he does just that, so I’ll be backing the home based Pirates at one of the top-rated sportsbooks on Sunday night.
Cardinals vs. Pirates Pick: Bet on the Pirates at BookMaker.eu
Cardinals vs. Pirates Score Prediction: Pittsburgh 4 – St. Louis 3