The St. Louis Cardinals needed 8 innings to pull away, but they eventually did it with a 4-run 8th to record a 6-2 win last night. It was a tie ballgame until the Cardinals busted things open against reliever Richard Rodriguez. Rodriguez got just one Cardinal out, while allowing 3 hits and 3 earned runs. Tough loss for the Pirates, as they got no return for a nice Chris Archer effort.
Archer has been blamed for more than a few losses this season, but in that case, Archer was in control and gave his offense a chance to win the game. In typical Pirate fashion, they let the game get away from themselves with a less than adequate performance by the bullpen. The pitching a staff haven’t been particularly strong as a whole unit. When they do in fact get a strong performance from their starters, the bullpen have a tendency to go and do that.
Last night was the sixth straight loss for the Bucs, which puts them at 2-16 in their previous eighteen outings. This is dating back to July 21st, so Pittsburgh are winners in just two games since that point. People said the Pirates quit on their season over a week ago and it’s hard to argue that they’re not looking forward to offseason vacation. The NL Central was wide open for the taking. All five teams were in it at the beginning of July. However, the Pirates have done a fine job of taking themselves out of the race completely.
The Pirates go into Saturday down by 14.5 games in the division. With the win for the Cardinals, they were able to get a bit closer to the Cubs at 3 games back. The Cubs were losers in Cincinnati last night, so St. Louis got to play catch up a bit on Friday. After an ugly road trip, they’re going to have to make up for it at home.
The Cardinals got swept on the road, with two losses to the Athletics and three to the Dodgers. The Cardinals had to respond last night at home and they managed to do that. We’ll see if they can make it two in a row behind Adam Wainwright this evening. Wainwright will take on Joe Musgrove in this one. Head below for our free Pirates vs. Cardinals pick.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick:
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The Pirates were getting some solid production out of Joe Musgrove. He was giving some consistent starts anyway. However, Musgrove has been getting walloped of late, as he tries to get out of a hole against the Cardinals in St. Louis. He is coming off a brutal performance against the Mets, having allowed 10 hits and 8 earned runs in 3.1 innings. Musgrove was also shaky in a 6-3 loss against the Cardinals in St. Louis three outings ago. In that one, he was exploited for 7 hits and 5 earned runs in 5 innings of work.
All 6 runs were scored with Musgrove in the contest. Naturally, the bullpen had a strong game when a starter already threw the game away in previous innings. The Cardinals are hitting .295 with a .369 OBP against Musgrove in 112 at-bats. During that time, they’ve scored 23 runs with 5 deep balls. After breaking out of their coma in the 8th inning last night, expect the Cards to be able to get a bit of carryover into Saturday against Musgrove.
Wainwright has been okay overall in his 2019 campaign. He’s been serviceable enough for the Cardinals to trot him out there and feel confident they are going to have a chance to win that day. Wainwright is no longer the elite hurler he once was, but he can still churn out some quality innings. In particular, Wainwright has been excellent at Busch Stadium this season. He has looked pretty elite there. Wainwright owns an ERA of 2.26 and 1.22 WHIP as opposed to a 6.96 ERA and 1.62 WHIP on the road. The Cardinals likely pick up some steam with back-to-back wins.