MLB Predictions: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

The St. Louis Cardinals (62-40) and Pittsburgh Pirates (61-42) will open up a four-game National League Central series at PNC Park Monday night, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates 

The Pittsburgh Pirates are 12-6 as home favorites of -125 to -150 this season
The Pittsburgh Pirates are 12-6 as home favorites of -125 to -150 this season

St. Louis dropped all three games of its recent series against the Atlanta Braves, as the offense was held to three runs over that span, with the UNDER cashing in each of those contests.  The Cardinals are in the midst of 15 straight games against clubs currently positioned for the playoffs.  “We have to flush this series and put it behind us and look forward to playing in the Steel City,” commented Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig.  He was 0-for-10 against the Braves, which was surprising due to entering Sunday with a .375 batting average in July.  St. Louis is 10-2 on the road with a betting total of 7 or less, with the OVER going 6-5-1 in that situation.

Cardinals starting pitcher Jake Westbrook (7-4, 2.95 ERA) has won back-to-back starts, including an 11-3 home victory over the Philadelphia Phillies last time out, as he allowed three runs and nine hits over seven frames.  The right-hander is 2-4 with a 405 ERA in eight road games, with opposing hitters batting .318 against him.  In 14 career games (10 starts) versus the Pirates, Westbrook has tallied a disappointing 1-7 record and 4.81 ERA, including an 0-5 mark and 5.86 ERA in nine efforts at this ballpark.

Pittsburgh went 5-5 on its most recent road trip, which ended with a 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins as -109 road favorites Sunday, while going UNDER the betting total of 6.5.  “I’m pleased, but we’re not satisfied,” commented Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.  Third baseman Pedro Alvarez will likely lead the offensive attack, as he’s gone 12 for 21 with two home runs in his career against Westbrook.  Pittsburgh is 12-6 as home favorites of -125 to -150 this season, with the UNDER going 13-4-1 in that situation.

Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (10-4, 2.23 ERA) has won seven of his last nine outings, including a 4-2 road victory over the Washington Nationals last time out, as he allowed two hits over 7.2 scoreless frames.  The left-hander is 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA in six home games, with opposing hitters batting .221 against him.  Liriano earned a 6-2 victory over the Cardinals in his only career start against them in 2009.

Sports bettors will likely back the Pirates due to their 5-1 record in Liriano’s last six starts as a favorite of -110 to -150.

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