Carlos Martinez (13-6, 2.91 ERA) and J.A. Happ (7-7, 4.10 ERA) take the hill in the first of a three-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals (86-47) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (79-53) at Busch Stadium. Action begins at 8:15 p.m. ET on Friday, Sep. 4 and can be seen on RTPT, FSMW and MLBN.
Martinez pitched 6.0 innings in his last outing, surrendering three runs, striking out six and walking two in a 5-3 win over the Diamondbacks. Matt Carpenter (.260, 80 Rs, 20 HRs, 69 RBIs, 3 SBs) went 1 for 5 Wednesday. Happ went 5.2 innings, surrendering one run, striking out two and walking one in a 4-3 win over the Rockies in his most recent start. Jung Ho Kang (.288, 52 Rs, 13 HRs, 50 RBIs, 5 SBs) went 1 for 2 yesterday with one RBI.
St. Louis is a -151 favorite against Pittsburgh and the Over/Under (O/U) for this game is sitting at seven runs. The Cardinals have recorded an overall money line of +2,875 and have shown high-level performance as a favorite this season with a record of 72-29. St. Louis is unbeaten as the favorite and has an 8-2 SU record in its last ten outings. The Cardinals have seen an uptick in scoring as of late, averaging 5.8 runs during the last 10 games compared to their season average of 4.1 runs per game. As for the pitchers, opposing offenses have been stifled by the Cardinals, who have a team ERA of only 2.66. 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 16-21 record and an overall money line of +1,491. They have played poorly as the underdog with a 5-14 record against NL Central opponents, and a 5-5 record SU. Pittsburgh's pitching staff is one of the top in the NL at pitching on the road, with a 3.60 ERA.
The Cardinals lead the season series, 7-6. The Cardinals have a 19-15 record against left-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Happ takes the mound. Martinez (RHP) will be on the hill against the Pirates, who have a 64-41 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - StL, O/U - Over
The total has gone OVER in 4 of St. Louis's last 6 games.
St. Louis is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games at home.
St. Louis is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing Pittsburgh.
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of St. Louis's last 7 games when playing at home against Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh has won 50% (28-28) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, St. Louis has won 62% (30-18) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Pirates managed to give up five walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Cardinals who are heading in with a 20-7 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
When they outhit their opponents, the Cardinals are 53-15. The Pirates have a 55-6 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 18th, St. Louis is in the bottom half of the league in runs, scoring 543 this season. Pittsburgh ranks in the top half at 14th with 557.
Ranking 20th, Pittsburgh is in the bottom half of the league in walks, notching 360 this season. St. Louis ranks in the top 10 at eighth with 409.
When the Cardinals hit at least one home run, they are 56-21, well-matched with the Pirates who are 52-25 when hitting one or more homers.