The Pittsburgh Pirates (42-35) and St. Louis Cardinals (40-38) will close out a three-game National League Central series on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 2:15 ET
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh will wake up today and wish it was still June, winning 17 games in a month for the first time since August 2007, while leading the NL with 39 home runs. The Pirates have won a season-high four straight games, scoring 37 runs over that span. Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen has played a major part in the team’s recent success, but will likely sit in this affair after spraining his left wrist in Saturday’s 7-3 victory. Pittsburgh is 10-8 as a road underdog of +125 to +150.
Pirates starting pitcher Erik Bedard (4-8, 4.27) has watched the club drop his last three efforts, including a 5-4 road setback to the Philadelphia Phillies last time out, giving up four runs and eight hits over six frames. The left-hander is 2-6 with a 6.23 ERA in eight road outings, as opposing hitters are batting .298 against him. In two career starts versus the Cardinals, Bedard has tallied an even 1-1 record and 3.00 ERA, issuing six walks and striking out 18 batters in 12 innings.
St. Louis has finished the last two months with a losing record, which includes a 13-14 record in June, as the club sits in third place in the division. The Cardinals are now focused on avoiding a three-game sweep at home to the Pirates for the first time since May 1991. It’s important to note that the club is 19-15 against divisional foes in 2012, while splitting the first eight games in this season series. St. Louis is 7-16 when playing a team with a winning record.
Cardinals starting pitcher Jake Westbrook (6-6, 3.77 ERA) has led the club to three consecutive wins, but he didn’t factor into the decision of an 8-7 road win over the Miami Marlins last time out. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 4.83 ERA in seven home outings, as opposing hitters are batting .308 against him. In 10 career games (six starts) versus the Pirates, Westbrook has tallied an 0-5 record and 5.06 ERA, including a 0-2 mark and 4.15 ERA in two such outings this season.
Bettors will likely back the Cardinals due to their 9-4 record when the total is 9 to 9.5, while the Pirates are 0-4 in Bedard’s last four tries as a road underdog.
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