The St. Louis Cardinals put the Pittsburgh Pirates away early last night behind a 9-run 2nd inning by the Cards. It felt like it was never going to end, as the Cardinals circled through their lineup with the runs continuing to pile up high. Jordan Lyles was chased out of the game following 7 hits and 5 earned runs. Luis Escobar picked right off from where Lyles was, as he allowed 5 hits and 5 earned runs in 2 innings of work.
The Bucs didn’t stand much of a chance with their pitching staff playing that poorly. The offense did what they had to do to score 8 runs, which was a nice night at the office for them. But getting drilled for 14 runs was far too much to overcome.
With the victory, the Cardinals pulled within just a half game of the Cubs for 1st in the NL Central. Meanwhile, the Pirates sunk further, as they fell to 46-55 on the season. Down by 8.5 games, their season appears to be out of reach unless something drastic changes.
They are tied with the Mets for next to last in the National League. The Marlins are the only team in the NL with a worse record. It’s doubtful they get bypassed by the Marlins, though Pittsburgh are just 1-5 in their last six games, all of which came at home.
The Phillies and Cardinals have felt quite comfortable at PNC Park against the Bucs. Joe Musgrove will attempt to get the Pirates back on track with a win this afternoon. Miles Mikolas is expected to counter for the Cardinals. Head below for our free Cardinals vs. Pirates pick.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Pick:
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That was not a good look by Jordan Lyles last night, but it wasn’t too much of a surprise given his struggles at home. We were prepared for it with a play on the OVER, which came in easily by the end of the 2nd frame. Joe Musgrove, who has been one of the better performing pitchers for the Pirates this season, will look for a much better performance.
The trade for Chris Archer is looking dumber and dumber by the day in Pittsburgh. In any event, Musgrove is coming off a shutdown outing against the Phillies. He gave up only 2 hits and yielded no runs in a 5-1 win for the Pirates. That’s the sole win that the Bucs have notched in their previous seven games.
Musgrove has been serviceable at home, with a 4.13 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 56.2 innings. Overall, he’s been around the same with a 4.08 ERA on the year. Not bad, but it’s bad when he is the top performing Pirate in the starting rotation with those numbers. Insert Pirates’ fans ranting about Archer here.
Where the Bucs are going to have an advantage in this game is going to be against Mikolas. Mikolas has been a totally different hurler on the road than at home. While he carries an impressive ERA of 2.15 at home, his numbers elevate to a 7.04 ERA and 1.63 WHIP on the road. Mikolas hasn’t allowed less than 3 runs on the road since May 1st against the Nationals.
Other than that game, he’s yielded at least 3 runs in nine of ten games as a visiting pitcher. The Bucs have been solid against righties this season, with a .272 average on the season. During this seven-game stretch of 1-6 baseball for the Pirates, four of the losses were by just 1-run. So, it isn’t like they’ve been that far off during this downturn. With the Cardinals seeking a sweep Thursday, look for the Pirates to salvage this series with a win to prevent getting swept at home.