Thursday evening starts a four-game battle between NL Central foes as the Pittsburgh Pirates (7-5) take on the St. Louis Cardinals (5-7). The Cardinals will host this one at Busch Stadium, with first pitch scheduled for 7:45 pm ET.
The Cardinals are heavy favorites playing at home. They are -250 to win, while the Pirates’ moneyline sits at +205. The runline features Pittsburgh +1.5 (-105), and the over/under for total runs is 8.5 (-110).
Pittsburgh Tries To Bounce Back After Losing Home Series
The Pittsburgh Pirates got out to a surprising 6-3 start this season, but after losing two of three to the Astros to start the week, they will look to bounce back against the Cardinals. Luckily for Pirates’ fans, they have played better on the road thus far (4-2) than at home (3-3).
Taking the mound for the Pirates on Thursday will be 30-year-old righty, Vince Velasquez. It has been a rough start to the season for Velasquez, who is 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA, 2.18 WHIP, and has four strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work.
His last start was especially rough. In a loss against the White Sox, he lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up five earned runs on six hits and four walks.
Offensively, Bryan Reynolds has gotten off to a sensational start for the Pirates. In 49 at bats, he is hitting .347/.358/.735 with five home runs, 14 runs batted in, 10 runs scored, and a couple stolen bases.
Against the Cardinals’ Jordan Montgomery, veteran Andrew McCutchen has had quite a bit of success. In 11 at bats, he is hitting .364 with a home run and three runs batted in.
Cardinals Trying To Gain Momentum
At 5-7, the Cardinals have the second-worst record to start the year in the NL Central. Still, they have won back-to-back games and look to find some momentum to turn things around. As it stands, they still have the second-best odds of winning the division at +130.
Lefty Jordan Montgomery will toe the rubber for the Cardinals in this one. He is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and he has 12 strikeouts in 12 innings thus far.
He picked up the win over the Brewers in his last start, going seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits, two walks, and he struck out nine.
Offensively, 22-year-old phenom Nolan Gorman has shown early signs of why he is such a highly touted prospect. In 32 at bats, he is hitting .313/.436/.750 with a team-leading four home runs.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado has also hit well, hitting .327/.382/.490 with two home runs and a team-leading 13 runs batted in.
Against the Pirates’ Velasquez, Tyler O’Neill (2), Paul Goldschmidt, and Dylan Carlson have all homered off the righty.
Take The Cardinals To Win And Cover
While the Cardinals’ offense showed signs of life over the last two games, St. Louis fans still hope to find a bit more consistency moving forward.
Still, this one comes down to the pitching. Jordan Montgomery has been fantastic as of late while Vince Velasquez has been downright awful to start the year.
Expect those trends to continue in this one, and don’t be surprised if the Cardinals win this one in a route.
For that reason, take St. Louis to win and to cover the -1.5 runline (-114).