Getting their first dose of national TV, NL Central rivals St. Louis and Pittsburgh face off again. The pressure is low for the rebuilding Pirates, but the contending Cardinals cannot afford to give away any games.
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri 2:15 PM EST
PIT: Trevor Williams – R (Last Season: 7-9, 5.38 ERA, 5.12 FIP)
STL: Adam Wainwright – R (Last Season: 14-10, 4.19 ERA, 4.36 FIP)
Odds & Betting Lines (PointsBet)
Total: 9 | Over: -115 | Under: +105
PIT | Moneyline: +145 | Run Line: (+1.5) -131
STL | Moneyline: -171 | Run Line: (-1.5): +110
STL: OF Gregory Polanco, RP Keone Kela, SP Chris Archer, INF Kevin Kramer
As the great Adam Wainwright continues to age (turning 39 in August), his effectiveness against lefties has continued to decline. In 2019, southpaw batters crushed Wainwright to the tune of a 5.90 FIP. Meanwhile, righties could only muster a 3.21 mark. It’s worth noting because Pittsburgh’s lineup threatens to run out upwards of six lefties!
Ring the Bell
As a result of Wainwright’s lefty struggles, Pittsburgh’s premier batter is in a great position to capitalize. In 2019, Pirates 1B Josh Bell dominated righties with a 151 wRC+, good for 6th in the National League. I identified Bell as a great Home Run Leader value, and Saturday’s matchup can propel him to the front of the pack.
Pirates Over 1, First 3 Innings (-105)
As a shell of his former self, Wainwright serves as a potential weak spot for the Pirates to attack. The Pittsburgh offense may not be all that exciting, but it was nearly league-average. Today, they just need to do better than a 3 runs-per-game pace. Now that Wainwright’s firmly a 4-5 ERA pitcher, that’s not a big leap to make.
Over 3, First 3 Innings (+105)
Although neither offense is spectacular, the mentioned pitching woes should be enough to spark a high-scoring start. Helped by the Designated Hitter spot, 2019 matchups lineups saw about 1 run scored per inning. With the DH, warm weather, and a subpar pitching matchup, the squads can outdo this mark early on.