Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals - 4/6/16 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction
St. Louis Cardinals (0-2) at Pittsburgh Pirates (2-0)
MLB Baseball: Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 7:05 pm (PNC Park)
M Leake (0-0) (0.00) vs. J Nicasio (0-0) (0.00)
The Line: Pittsburgh Pirates +105 / St. Louis Cardinals -115 --- Over/Under: 7.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: ROOT, FS-M
On Wednesday evening, the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates will clash once again in game three of their opening National League Central series at PNC Park.
In this series’ first game, the Pirates posted a 4-1 victory over the Cardinals, thanks to offensive efforts from Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cervelli (2-for-3; run), Gregory Polanco (2-for-3; two runs) and a spattering of RBI from the rest of the lineup. Francisco Liriano buoyed the Pirates on the mound, allowing just three hits in six innings of work.
In Tuesday’s game two of the series, Pittsburgh won 6-5, but it took them 11 innings to get there. Notable contributors to the Pirates’ game two win were Andrew McCutchen (3-for-5; RBI; run), David Freese (2-for-5; run) and Gregory Polanco (1-for-3; two RBI; two runs).
Taking the mound for the Cardinals in Wednesday’s game three will be right-hander Mike Leake. In 2015, Leake posted an 11-10 record with a 3.70 ERA, but figures to improve on those numbers this season with St. Louis.
The St. Louis lineup will be reliant on their pitching this season, as the Cardinals hitters aren’t going to blow anyone away with power or burn up the base paths. That said, outfielder Randal Grichuk could very well finish in the 25-homer range this season, while second baseman Kolten Wong can provide 20 steals for the St. Louis if things go well.
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Over on the Pirates’ side, they’ll be utilizing right-hander Juan Nicasio on the hill. Nicasio had an excellent spring to earn his way into the Pittsburgh rotation, logging a 24/5 K/BB ratio with 15 innings of shutout ball. There’s a lot of healthy buzz around Nicasio, who could have a great season.
The Pirates hitters look pretty solid going into 2016. Andrew McCutchen leads the Pittsburgh attack, and should finish with around 100 runs with 25 home runs. The Pirates also have some nice speed in their batting order, specifically with Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, each of whom has the capability of swiping 30 bases this season.
Now let’s check out a few of the running trends here. The Cardinals are 8-2 in their last 10 Wednesday games, but have been ice cold against the National League Central. St. Louis has gone 0-5 in their last five attempts in the division, and 0-7 in their last seven road games overall.
As for the Pirates, they’re 7-1 in their last eight against a team with a winning percentage below .400 and 13-5 in their last 18 overall, so the trends have them cooking right now--even though it's the beginning of the season and it's hard telling which way is up sometimes.
I’m drinking the Juan Nicasio Kool-Aid here and picking Pittsburgh to top St. Louis once again and snag the sweep. Nicasio should be able to quell an underwhelming Cardinals lineup and will get enough run support from his Pirates teammates to come away with the victory.