It’s crunch time for the St. Louis Cardinals as we head into the final weeks of the regular season. The Cards are one of those fringe teams at the moment who could see their season go either way. The NL Central looks like a reach, but they’re hanging in there with a record of 80-64 and 3.5 games behind the Cubs. Not impossible, but they’re going to need some help along the way. They control their own destiny for a wildcard in the National League, though.
St. Louis are currently 2 games up on the Dodgers for the final wildcard. The Dodgers laid an egg against the Reds last night, so Cincinnati did a few teams some favors with their win a night ago. That could be a game the Dodgers look back on that they want back at the end of the regular season. That’s a winnable game that they flushed down the toilet.
The Cardinals beat the Pirates in a close one on Monday night. They were a run better, as they edged the Pirates out, 8-7. Adam Wainwright made his return last night, allowing 4 runs and 7 hits in 5 innings. The offense helped him to a no-decision, though. Matt Adams was the savior of the night, as he sent a 3-run shot over the fence for the Cardinals.
With the win, the Cards won their second in a row after avoiding getting swept in Detroit. What was nearly a disaster, they were able to pull it together to get a win against the Tigers on Sunday. The Pirates are 12 games back in the NL Central with a record of 71-72. No dice for them this season, but we’ll see if they start next season better. If they weren’t so slow to start 2018, they’d likely be competing for a wildcard at the moment. The Pirates are just trying to play spoiler now, which they came short of doing last night. Get our free Pirates vs. Cardinals pick and the rest of our writeup below.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick
Joe Musgrove (6-8, 3.75 ERA) vs. Miles Mikolas (14-4, 3.06 ERA)
Trevor Williams has been hot for the Pirates, but he was thrown off his perch with a tough performance against the Cardinals. It was the first time Williams allowed more than a run since August 5th against who else but the Cardinals. Also, Williams hadn’t allowed more than 3 runs since July 6th, so this could be something for the Cardinals to build on.
Joe Musgrove enters with an ERA of 3.75 and has been relatively solid for the Pirates, but he has been touched up recently with a 6.06 ERA in three outings. He’s been getting exploited with the long ball, as he’s allowed 5 in those three games. Musgrove has allowed at least a homer in four straight games. The Cards got to him for 7 hits and 5 runs in their last meeting on August 30th.
Miles Mikolas has some poor numbers lately with an ERA of 5.51 in his last three starts. However, he returns home to St. Louis where he has been a much better pitcher. Mikolas holds an ERA of 2.31 with a 1.04 WHIP at home. He shut the Pirates down not too long ago in St. Louis, allowing 2 runs in 5 innings of work. The Pirates are hitting .264 with just 1 long ball against Mikolas in 91 at-bats. I think the Cardinals got a wake-up call after dropping two games against the Tigers in Detroit. Look for them to put a winning streak together with their third win a row Tuesday night in St. Louis.