MLB Baseball Betting: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates

MLB Baseball Betting:  St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates

Short card of action today but this game is a big one. The Pittsburgh Pirates have won five straight and 10 of 12 and are in second place in the NL Central. They’re 4.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals who have shown some vulnerability in the last few games after being on cruise control since the start of the year. The Cards picked up a win in the series finale in Chicago last night but have lost six of their last ten games. This is the first of a four game series that can obviously bring a significant change to the balance of power in the division.

St. Louis will start Carlos Martinez, who has been a very pleasant surprise this season. In fact, he’s been the rock of the Cardinals’ rotation and they’ve won 13 of his 16 starts including 6 of 8 road starts. Martinez has been incredibly consistent–he’s got a 2.73 ERA overall, a 2.70 ERA on the road and he’s got a 2.23 ERA in his last three starts. He’s not an overwhelming pitcher but a solid pro that doesn’t beat himself or his team.

He’ll be opposed by the Pirates’ Jeff Locke. The lefthander’s overall stats don’t look like much with a 4.15 ERA and the Bucs winning 9 of his 16 starts. He’s been excellent at home, however, where Pittsburgh has won 7 of his 10 assignments as he’s posted a 2.64 ERA. He’s been very good in his most recent starts–in his last three games he’s allowed just 3 earned runs for a tidy 1.59 L3 ERA. One of the Cardinals few money losing situations is against lefthanded pitching where they’re 8-11 -5.2 units.

This game comes down to a matter of form and setting. St. Louis holds an edge in head to head play over the last three years (27-22) but the Pirates have won 16 of the 24 meetings at home including 2 of 3 this year. More importantly, they’re catching the Cards playing lackluster baseball and dealing with some significant injuries while they’re playing their best ball of the season. Pittsburgh has been trying to run down the Cards for over a month now and they’ll take advantage of this opportunity to tighten up the NL Central race.