Francisco Liriano (1-1, 2.22 ERA) gets the start for the Pittsburgh Pirates (12-11) as they meet John Lackey (1-1, 4.21 ERA) and the St. Louis Cardinals (16-6) in the second of a three-game series at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals won the last game 2-1 and St. Louis leads the series 1-0. The game gets underway at 2:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, May. 2 and will air on ROOT-PIT and FSN-MW.
Lackey has a 4.15 ERA and a 1-1 record in his career against the Pirates, and is up against a less-than-stellar Pittsburgh offense that's hitting just .230 on the year. Matt Carpenter (.378, 21 Rs, 3 HRs, 14 RBIs) continued his strong season yesterday, going 2 for 4. In his career against the Cardinals, Liriano is 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA. He meets a strong St. Louis offense that's batting .272. Gregory Polanco (.277, 13 Rs, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 7 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday.
St. Louis is a -121 favorite in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is seven runs. The Cardinals perform well as a favorite with a 12-4 record and have an overall money line of +778. They are 6-2 as the favorite over their last 10 games. St. Louis has averaged 3.9 runs per game during divisional play, lower than its season average of 4.4. St. Louis's pitching staff can be considered for best in its league, with an NL-low 2.43 team ERA. The Cardinals don't allow many hitters to get on base, ranking second in the league with a 1.10 WHIP.
On the other side, the Pirates have a record of 3-4 when they are the underdog and are +78 overall with the money line. Against divisional rivals, they are 8-8 SU and 3-4 as the underdog. Playing against NL Central foes really brings the worst out of the Pittsburgh pitchers. They allow 3.9 runs per game against teams within their division, which is higher than their season average of 3.2.
The only other game between the two teams went St. Louis's way. Taking the hill against the Pirates will be the right-hander Lackey. They sport a 12-8 record against righties.
Predictions: SU Winner - STL, O/U - Over
The Cardinals sit at 11-4 against their divisional rivals, while the Pirates are 8-9.
Pittsburgh recorded at least two errors for the seventh time this season.
When the Cardinals play into extra innings, they have a 2-1 record. The Pirates are 0-2 when their games exceed nine innings.
Having scored one run in their last game, the Pirates are going to have to up their game if they want to win this matchup. The Cardinals have an 8-0 record in games where opponents scored that many runs or fewer.
When they outhit their opponents, the Cardinals are 11-5. The Pirates have a 9-1 record when outhitting opponents.
St. Louis and Pittsburgh both rank in the bottom half of the league in runs. St. Louis sits at 16th with 94 runs this season and Pittsburgh ranks 18th with 90.
Ranking 30th, Pittsburgh is at the bottom of the league in walks, notching 42 this season. St. Louis ranks in the top half at 11th with 75.
The Cardinals are 8-2 in games where they hit one or more home runs. The Pirates are 8-5 when they hit at least one homer.