NL Central Showdown: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

NL Central Showdown: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates will meet for game two of their three-game series on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Pirates in the series opener by a score of 5-2. With the win on Tuesday, the Cardinals moved to 8-6 versus the Pirates this season.

The St. Louis Cardinals have jumped to the top of the Wild Card standings in the National League. St. Louis has opened up a 1.5 game lead over the Brewers for the top Wild Card spot. The Pirates looked as if they were going to be contenders this season after a terrific July, but have fallen out of the race since August began. The St. Louis Cardinals are -170 over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Mikolas Starts For Cardinals

The Cardinals will have their ace on the mound for them in game two of the series on Wednesday night. Right-hander Miles Mikolas is a big reason that the Cardinals appear to be headed to the playoffs in 2018. Mikolas is 13-3 with a sparkling 2.94 earned run average this season. Mikolas has made three starts against the Pirates this season and is 0-1 and has not looked real sharp in any of the three starts.

Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina continue to set the table at the top of the Cardinals lineup. Carpenter leads the National League with 34 home runs while also getting on base at a .385 clip. Molina has sparked the offense since moving up to the number two spot in the order while also guiding a young pitching staff through a playoff run.

Pirates Struggling To Find Pitching

The biggest reason for the Pirates decline has been the inconsistency of their starting rotation. The Pirates acquired Chris Archer prior to the trade deadline in an effort to shore up their pitching staff, but he has struggled in his time in Pittsburgh as well. The Pirates are facing a red-hot Cardinals offense this week, and are likely to give up a ton of runs.

Outfielder Gregory Polanco is the biggest offensive threat in the Pirates lineup after Andrew McCutchen left in the offseason. Polanco has hit 21 home runs and driven in 73 runs to lead Pittsburgh this season. The Pirates rank in the bottom third in baseball in total runs scored, but they are capable of putting up a big night at the plate.

Mikolas, Cardinals Stay Hot

The Pirates have won just one game in their last six tries, and it won’t get any easier for them on Wednesday night. Trevor Williams will start for the Pirates, and he is 10-9 with a 3.44 earned run average this season. Pittsburgh will need to put up a ton of runs if they are going to win this game.

The Cardinals have a ton of momentum at the moment and look to be the best team in the National League. Matt Carpenter has carried the offense for much of the season but is getting plenty of help as late. Take the Cardinals at -170 over the Pirates in this Tuesday night affair.

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