Cardinals vs. Pirates Pick MLB – July 31st

How about them Buccos??  The biggest day in Pittsburgh baseball in 20 years couldn’t have gone any better last night, with the Pirates sweeping the doubleheader to move a full game and a half into first place.  Think about that for a second.  The Pittsburgh Pirates are going to enter August in first place and with the best record in all of baseball.  Not bad for a team who has posted TWENTY consecutive losing seasons.

We will try to make like the Pirates and just keep on winning.  I posted my second straight win last night with the UNDER in the San Diego v. Cincinnati game (a fifth straight loss for the Reds, by the way), and will try to make it three in a row with yet another look at an exploitable run total.

Let’s dig in to today’s free pick.

St Louis Cardinals -116 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates +107 (Total: 7)

Adam Wainwright (13-6, 2.51 ERA) vs. Jeff Locke (9-3, 2.15 ERA)

The Pirates have already taken the first three games of the series, and now they get to trot out their All-Star and ace, Jeff Locke, to try and take a once seemingly-unthinkable 2 ½ game lead over rival St. Louis.  Of course, it will not be easy, as the Cards are countering with their ace as well, Adam Wainwright, who has been fantastic this season with a 2.51 ERA and a WHIP of just 1.03.

So can Pittsburgh keep it up?  Or perhaps more appropriately, can St. Louis continue to flounder this mightily?  The Cardinals have tallied just six runs total during their current six game losing streak, a terrible stretch for a team with the best offense in the National League all season.  Obviously their .360 hitting with runners in scoring position was due for a slight regression to the norm at some point, but this recent slide is also far to the extreme edge of the Bell curve.

This game has ‘low-scoring affair’ written all over it.  Two All-Star pitchers facing off in a game both managers are going to treat like a playoff game.  The atmosphere will be electric and the fans will be frenzied.  Both teams, despite the fact we have two months still remaining in the season, know this game is HUGE.

My only concern on the UNDER is the likely absence of Yadier Molina from the lineup. It’s possible Wainwright is a little less sharp throwing to a different receiver than the one generally regarded as the best handler of pitchers in all of baseball, Yadi Molina.  However, I’ll rely that the offset of having one of the best bats in the NL also sidelined will be enough to keep us safely under the seven run total.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL UNDER 7