The St. Louis Cardinals host the Pittsburg Pirates tonight in game two of a four games series with their National League Central Division rivals. The Cardinals took game one last night in dramatic fashion as they trailed 8-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. The Cardinals exploded for five runs in the bottom of the ninth to steal the game and take a one-game lead in the series. The finishing blow was a three-run bomb off the bat of Yairo Munoz to walk it off for the home team.
The Pirates will look to shake it off tonight as they send Jameson Taillon (2-4 4.35 ERA) to the mound. The Cardinals will look to make it a two-game series lead as they send the undefeated Miles Mikolas (6-0 2.58 ERA) to the rubber. The Cardinals are -133 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The Cardinals are all kinds of banged up at the moment, but that isn’t stopping them from winning a bunch of games. Even with the loss of several key players including starting shortstop Paul DeJong and starting catcher Yadier Molina, the Cardinals managed to post a winning record in the month of May. St. Louis finds itself in third place in the ultra-competitive National League Central, but entering play today, they are just one game back of the second wild card in the National League. If the Cards can ride out this storm and get healthy, they are in a great position to make the playoffs. One of the reasons they have been winning so many games this year? The work of tonight’s starter Miles Mikolas.
Mikolas has been basically perfect all-season long. He doesn’t have a blemish on his 6-0 record, and the Cardinals have won eight out of his ten starts on the year. Two starts ago, he threw a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts against the Kansas City Royals. The third-year starter is enjoying a breakout season and has eyes on making his first All-Star team as the ballots were just released yesterday. His 2.58 ERA is good for seventh in the National League. Ahead of guys like Michael Wacha and Jon Lester and falling just behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta.
That is some great company for the young man. At home, he has been elite. In his four starts in St. Louis he is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA. In twenty-none innings, he has twenty-four strikeouts, and he has yet to give up a home run at home. The Cards are hoping his hot streak continues as they look to move up the standings in the National League tonight and defeat a division rival.
For the Pirates, they turn to Jameson Taillon tonight. Taillon has been all over the place this season. He has a couple of starts where he dominated. Like when he pitched a complete game shutout one-hitter against the Reds earlier this year. But he has had other times where he has really struggled. He has been run from the game before the fourth inning in three of his eleven starts. On the road this season, Taillon has been really bad. He is 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA in his five road starts. The Pirates are hoping that trend changes tonight in St. Louis.
This is a pretty simple game. The Cardinals are the better team. They have a starter on the mound that hasn’t lost all year long and has been lights out at home. For the Pirates, they are starting a guy that has been the poster boy for inconsistency and has been getting hammered on the road. There really aren’t too many levels to this game. Good home pitcher against bad road pitcher, that pretty much sums it up. The line is a fairly tight one, and while I much prefer finding underdogs to back, I don’t mind laying a little bit of wood in a spot like this where I really like one side. So, that is just what I will do. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals as small home favorites at -133 tonight in game two against the Pirates!