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St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Free Pick - 9/6/13

Pittsburgh Pirates (81-58) at St. Louis Cardinals (80-60)

MLB Baseball: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm (Busch Stadium)

AJ Burnett (R) (7-9) (3.094) vs. Joe Kelly (R) (7-1) (2.110)

The Line: St. Louis Cardinals -122 / Pittsburgh Pirates +112 --- Over/Under: 7.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ROOT-Pittsburgh, FS-Midwest

The Pittsburgh Pirates head to Busch Stadium to battle the St Louis Cardinals for control of the Central.

After watching Pittsburgh fade late the past few seasons, I 'm surprised to see them holding onto the National League Central lead this late in the year. Of course, the lead is practically nothing and any type of slide could kill their chances this late in the season, but the Buccos have been resilient with the pitching and hitting picking each other up. That wasn't the case Wednesday in a 9-3 loss to Milwaukee that saw a rare poor effort from Francisco Liriano, who was charged with seven runs in three frames. The bats mustered 13 hits with Andrew McCutchen going deep with many opportunities lost. AJ Burnett takes the ball in a huge series opener, with the Cardinals on Friday. Burnett has thrown the ball very well in 2013, but doesn't always get support and is only 7-9 despite a 3.09 ERA.

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St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Free Pick - 9/6/13

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The Cardinals have some great pitching and a lineup that can hit and score with anyone, but they have stretches where neither unit gets the job done. They are in that phase right now after Cincinnati handed them a 6-2 defeat on Friday, which has the Redbirds staring at losses in seven of eleven. Starter Lance Lynn has had some issues and had his share Friday, with four runs given up on seven hits and four bases on balls through five frames to take the loss. The Cards offense provided little help with only five hits and five walks producing a solo home run off the bat of David Freese, with a wild pitch scoring another. St Louis has scheduled Joe Kelly for the series opening start against the rival Pirates. Kelly only has eleven starts on the season, but has been very strong with a 7-3 record to partner with a 2.82 ERA.

To be honest, I'm torn on this one, with Burnett not getting great support, while Kelly has won quite a bit in a short time. My first thought is under with the way these guys have been going, but I need to sleep on this.

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