The St. Louis Cardinals are not having a successful road trip, and they would like to be able to go into the All-Star break with a little momentum. That may or may not be possible as they have a rookie with three career starts going up against one of the better pitchers in the National League. The opposition is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who will be trying to complete a three-game sweep as these teams meet up again at PNC Park in baseball betting action, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 PM ET on ESPN. Even after the contest starts, customers at BetAnySports have a chance to wager on various aspects of the game with Live Betting Extra, which supplies a whole new dimension of the world of sports betting.
The Cardinals (56-32) have lost two in a row and four out of six, but they are still sitting with the best record in baseball and are leading the National League Central by 3.5 games over the Pirates (52-35), who have taken ten of their last twelve and improved their home record to 31-16 on Saturday. Last night's game provided a marathon session, and an exciting one at that, as both teams scored in the tenth inning and the Pirates responded with two runs in the 14th on an Andrew McCutchen homer after the Cards had scored in the top half of the inning.
On Sunday, Left-hander Tim Cooney (0-0, 3.95 ERA) gets the start for the Cardinals, while the Pirates will go with Francisco Liriano (5-6, 2.99), who has improved his numbers over his last three starts.
In the baseball odds that have been posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, the Pirates are the home favorites:
Pittsburgh Pirates (Liriano) -157
St. Louis Cardinals (Cooney) +147
Over 6.5 runs -115
Under 6.5 runs -105
Liriano may have a losing record, but he shows up nicely in several metrics, relative to other starting pitchers in the league. He is, for example, fifth in the NL with a WHIP (walks and hits per nine innings) of 1.01, and he is second in the league (to Zack Greinke) in hits allowed per nine innings with 6.15. That's lower than the likes of Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Clayton Kershaw.
Liriano also comes with the heat; only Kershaw, Scherzer and James Shields have struck out more batters per nine innings than his 9.89. The last time his ERA was under 3.00 was his All-Star rookie season of 2006, when he was with the Minnesota Twins. And right-handers are hitting just .184 against him. BetAnySports patrons who have been following Pittsburgh lately have also noticed that Liriano has surrendered just fifteen hits in his last 20 innings.
These teams combined to use 15 pitchers last night, with the Cards (+600 favorites to win the World Series in the futures baseball odds) putting eight of them to work. So maybe they are looking for Cooney to go some innings. He's made 14 starts for Memphis this season, averaging a little more than six innings per outing. He debuted with the Cards on April 30 and was removed in the third inning after giving up three runs, He was sent back down, and after being recalled, he has surrendered seven hits and three earned runs in 11-1/3 frames. In eight of Liriano's 17 starts this season, he has gone at least seven innings.
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