I am a little salty about last night’s game. We backed the St. Louis Cardinals against the Pittsburgh Pirates as big underdogs. This was as much of a bet against the Pirates newly acquired starter, Chris Archer, then confidence in the Cardinals. Archer has been pretty bad all season long, and it shocked me to see him as a big favorite against a decent St. Louis team in his first ever National League start. The game went very much according to plan except for one thing, the final score.
Archer got smacked all over the ballpark as he got hammered for five runs in just four and a third innings of work on seven hits and four walks. The guy was just as terrible as I expected him to be. The Cards scored or threatened to score in just about every inning. Unfortunately for us, St. Louis just couldn’t manage to drive across enough runs to keep pace with the Pirates, who pummeled St. Louis starter, John Gant, for six runs in four innings.
The game was tied heading into the bottom of the eighth inning when Adam Frazier singled in the game-winning run that gave the Pirates the lead for good. All told, the Cardinals left an astounding sixteen runners on base! It is frustrating to see that many guys left stranded and then to only lose by just one run. What can you do, it would have been nice to hit another big underdog bet, and after seeing how Archer pitched, I feel we were clearly on the right side getting a bunch of dog money. For today’s pick, I will stay right here in Pittsburgh and break down game two of this series between the Pirates and the Cardinals.
The St. Louis Cardinals are in Pittsburgh Saturday for game two of a three-game series with the Pirates. Game one was an exciting back and forth affair, and we expect some more fireworks tonight in game two. With the loss yesterday, the Cardinals have fallen to fourth place in the NL Central Division. And with the win, Pittsburgh pulled within four games of the second and final wild-card spot in the NL and are in third place in the central.
Starting tonight for the Pirates is Ivan Nova (6-6 4.33 ERA), and for the Cardinals, it is rookie Austin Gomber (1-0 3.22 ERA). The Pirates are -120 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Ivan Nova has had his struggles this season, but for the most part, he has been quite good. He had a rough month of May as he attempted to pitch through an injury and struggled. But since returning from the DL, he has been very solid. In his nine starts since returning from the DL, the Pirates are 7-2 in those games and he has given up three runs or fewer in all but one start.
The Pirates have won Nova’s last four starts. Pittsburgh badly needs a good outing from Nova tonight as they have to win and win now, if they want to climb back into contention in the National League. It is a crowded race, and the Pirates have several teams to jump. They went all in on making a playoff push at the deadline this year, and they need to string together some wins ASAP.
Austin Gomber will be making his second career start tonight. He has spent most of his season pitching out of the Cardinals bullpen and is excited to get added to the rotation with the injury to Carlos Martinez. The Cardinals made several moves at the deadline that showed they were looking towards the future and adding Gomber to the rotation is a sign that they are going to spend the last couple months of the season trying out some young talent. Gomber has had solid results out of the bullpen since being called up in early June and will be looking to replicate the success he had in his first start when he held the Cincinnati Reds to just two runs in six and two thirds on an inning.
This seems like a mismatch to me. A rookie making his second career start, against a strong starter like Ivan Nova. I was shocked to see this number so low. Archer was a big favorite last night against this same team, and he has sucked all season long. Now we have a guy in Nova, who has been very good over the last two months, and they are laying just -120?
It doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me. Gomber looked good in his first start, but I am not ready to say he is even a big-league caliber starter after just one start. He got called up to the rotation out of necessity, not ability. I see Nova holding this Cards team back tonight and the Pirates figuring out a way to win this game at home today. Give me the Pittsburgh Pirates as small home favorites tonight in game two at -120!