The St. Louis Cardinals (18-17) and Pittsburgh Pirates (14-20) will open up a National League Central series Friday night at PNC Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
St. Louis has won three of its last four games, including a 7-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves as -110 road favorites Wednesday, while going OVER the betting total of 7. The Cardinals are hoping that outfielder Allen Craig can start turning things around, as he’s batting just .202 and has a .252 on-base percentage in the early going this season. It’s important to point out that the franchise is 12-13 in its last 25 regular-season games in this rivalry. St. Louis is 4-6 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125 this season.
Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha (2-3, 2.55 ERA) has watched the club drop his last four efforts, including a 3-0 setback on the road to the Chicago Cubs last time out, as he allowed two runs and five hits over six innings of work. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 1.90 ERA in four road appearances, with opposing hitters batting just .180 against him. Wacha hasn’t allowed a run over nine innings of work in two career appearances (one start) versus the Pirates.
Pittsburgh has won two games in a row, including a 4-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants as -150 home favorites Wednesday, while pushing up against the betting total of 7. The Pirates are averaging 5.3 runs and hitting .306 over their last six games, with outfielder Andrew McCutchen batting .432 during that span, while third baseman Pedro Alvarez has collected seven RBIs. Pittsburgh is 25-21 as a home underdog of +100 to +125 the last two-plus seasons.
Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (0-2, 4.54 ERA) didn’t earn a decision in a 8-6 home victory over the Toronto Blue Jays last time out, as he allowed five runs (four earned) and six hits over 3.2 innings of work. The left-hander is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in four home appearances, with opposing hitters batting .273 against him. Liriano has compiled a 0-1 record and 4.50 ERA in two starts versus the Cardinals this season.
Sports bettors will likely back the Pirates due to being 4-0 in Liriano’s last four starts as an underdog of +110 to +150.
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