John Lackey (11-8, 2.87 ERA) and the St. Louis Cardinals (86-48) square off against Gerrit Cole (15-8, 2.64 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (80-53) in a game that has the potential to be low scoring. This is the last of a three-game series at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals won the last game 4-1 and the series is currently tied 1-1. Action begins at 8:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sep. 6 and can be seen on ESPN.
Lackey pitched 6.0 innings in his last outing, surrendering one, striking out eight and walking four in an 8-5 defeat to the Nationals. Matt Carpenter (.261, 81 Rs, 21 HRs, 71 RBIs, 3 SBs) had another good game yesterday, going 2 for 3 with one run, one home run, and two RBIs. Cole went 4.0 innings, surrendering five runs, striking out two and walking one in a 7-4 defeat to the Brewers in his most recent start. Andrew McCutchen (.304, 79 Rs, 20 HRs, 85 RBIs, 7 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday.
St. Louis is a narrow -114 favorite at home against Pittsburgh. The matchup has an estimated Over/Under (O/U) of seven runs. The Cardinals have recorded an overall money line of +2,728 and have shown high-level performance as a favorite this season with a record of 72-30. St. Louis is an impressive 5-1 as the favorite over its last 10 games. The Cardinals have seen an uptick in scoring as of late, averaging 5.6 runs during the last 10 games compared to their season average of 4.1 runs per game. Crossing over to the pitching staff, opposing offenses have been stifled by the Cardinals, who have a team ERA of only 2.71. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Cardinals, who rank fifth in the NL in strikeouts per game with 8.1.
In games where it is the underdog, Pittsburgh has a 17-21 record and an overall money line of +1,628. They have managed to pull off a perfect record over their last ten games while playing as the underdog, and have a 5-5 SU record over the same span. Pittsburgh's pitching staff is one of the top in the NL at pitching on the road, with a 3.59 ERA.
The Cardinals lead the season series, 8-7. The Cardinals have a great 39-12 record at home (67-32 overall) against right-handed starting pitchers, which is what they'll be facing when Cole takes the mound. Lackey (RHP) will be on the hill against the Pirates, who have a 65-41 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - StL, O/U - Over
The Cardinals hold a 33-19 record in matchups against NL Central rivals, while the Pirates currently sit at 22-33 in these games.
The Cardinals are coming off of a hot pitching game where they recorded 14 strikeouts. The Pirates have a record of 3-1 when they are struck out that many times or more.
When they are outhit, the Pirates are 18-41. The Cardinals have a 22-32 record when opponents outhit them.
Both falling near the bottom of the league based on total home runs this season, St. Louis ranks 22nd with 113 homers and Pittsburgh is 21st with 114.
St. Louis and Pittsburgh both rank in the top five of the league in hits. St. Louis sits at fifth with 8.73 hits per game and Pittsburgh ranks fourth with 9.07.
St. Louis and Pittsburgh both rank in the bottom half of the league for their on-base plus slugging percentage. St. Louis sits at 17th with an OPS of .719 and Pittsburgh ranks 16th with an OPS of .719.
The Pirates are 33-33 in games where they allow one or more home runs. The Cardinals are 35-32 when they allow at least one homer.