The St. Louis Cardinals (23-18) will host the Pittsburgh Pirates (17-23) for the first of just two games on Tuesday, as the best and the worst in the National League Central division meet in St. Louis for the first time this season. The Cardinals took all three games against the Pirates when these teams met in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, when the run differential between them totaled 14 runs. St. Louis just suffered its first sweep of the season, at the hands of the Padres, while Pittsburgh won two of four against the Giants.
Free Picks: St. Louis Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Cardinals happy to be back home to face divisional basement-dweller
The veracity of home-field advantage is debatable, no doubt, but at this point in the season it’s fair to assume the St. Louis Cardinals are believers. The Cardinals were just swept on the road — their first time being swept this season —and now return home, where they’ve gone 12-8 (including a sweep over the Rockies in their most recent home series).
With the NL Central’s bottom-feeding Pittsburgh Pirates in town, the Cardinals are -135 money line favorites (10Bet) among Saturday’s MLB picks. The Pirates, meanwhile, are +115 money line underdogs. If it helps to know, the Pirates have practically the same money line success rate at home (8-11) as they do on the road (9-12).
Where they don’t have any success rate this season is against the Cardinals, who’ve won all three matchups so far this season. That included one game started by John Gant, who tossed five innings of three-hit, one-run ball on April 30 to earn the victory in a 7-3 game. His combatant — then, and on Tuesday — is JT Brubaker, who also pitched five innings; but he allowed seven hits and three runs in that same span.
Where the teams are really separated is their batting lineups. The Cardinals have a few stars (Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina), but overall they’re in the middle of the pack offensively, with a .704 team OPS (16th in MLB). The Pirates lack star power and are 29th in the majors in team OPS (.651). The Cardinals are tied for sixth in home runs (53) and the Pirates … well, they’re dead last (26).
Offense has been tough to come by for both teams of late. In their past five games respectively, St. Louis has scored 13 runs while Pittsburgh has scored 14. That’s brutal. But if we’d have to bet on one of these offenses to bounce back Tuesday, we’re definitely expecting it to be the Cardinals.
- St. Louis is 5-5 on the money line in its past 10
- The OVER has cashed in three of the Cardinals’ past three games
- Pittsburgh is 4-6 on the money line in its past 10
- The UNDER has cashed in six of the Pirates’ past 10 games
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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).