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Cardinals Try to Stay Perfect vs Pittsburgh

Pirates on Two-Game Skid

The Pittsburgh Pirates try to snap a two-game losing streak when they face the host St. Louis Cardinals in the second of a two-game series on Wednesday night. The series finale is set for a 7:45 p.m. ET start at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

The Pirates dropped the opener of the brief series between National League Central foes 5-2. Pittsburgh enters Wednesday’s action at 17-24 and in last place in the division standings, 2½ games behind the fourth-place Cincinnati Reds.

Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers in the second inning of the game three of the National League Championship
Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

The Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak with Tuesday’s win, improving to 24-18. St. Louis is atop the NL Central standings, holding a 2½-game lead over the second-place Chicago Cubs and a three-game advantage over the third-place Milwaukee Brewers.

The MLB odds for this one have the Cardinals with a moneyline of -220, while the Pirates are at +190. The over/under for this contest is set at 7½ runs.

Having Troubles

The Pirates’ offense has been stuck in neutral for much of the season, as they rank 29th in baseball in runs scored with 140. Pittsburgh is last in home runs, hitting fewer than the New York Mets despite playing five more games.

Infielders Phillip Evans and Colin Moran shared the team lead with four home runs, with Moran pacing the team with 19 RBIs despite being sidelined with a strained groin since May 8. Second baseman Erik Gonzalez has 16 RBIs, driving in a run in two of the last three games, but he has just two home runs as the Pirates are missing any pop in their lineup.

Second baseman Adam Frazier ranks third in the majors with 52 hits and is batting .321 with a team-high 20 runs scored.

Right-hander Trevor Cahill will be on the mound for the series finale, bringing a 1-4 record and 1.97 ERA into his eighth start. Cahill has 27 strikeouts and nine walks in 34.2 innings.

The 33-year-old faced the Cardinals on May 1, taking a loss when he went 5.1⅓ innings and allowed five runs on seven hits, including a home run. He had five strikeouts and three walks.

Dominant Pair

Right-hander Jack Flaherty gets the start for St. Louis on Wednesday, making his ninth start. Flaherty is 7-0 with a 2.47 ERA, striking out 48 and walking 13.

Pittsburgh was able to get some runs on the 25-year-old earlier this season, as Flaherty allowed three runs on six innings in a six-inning stint. Flaherty hasn’t allowed a run in two starts since, going 13 innings and giving up just seven hits while striking out 12.

The hottest Cardinal right now, though, may be third baseman Nolan Arenado, who hit a home run in his fourth straight game on Tuesday night. It was his 10th of the season and increased his RBI total to a team-best 30.

“He’s done great. Man, what a pretty stroke,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said after Tuesday’s win. “The guy is a good player. He’s in a good place. We just let him play his game.”

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has six home runs and 22 RBIs while shortstop Paul DeJong has added seven home runs and 17 RBIs. St. Louis is tied for eighth in baseball with 54 home runs and ranks in a tie for 13th with 185 total runs.

Cardinals Complete Sweep

The Cardinals have their best on the mound as well as one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now. That’s a winning combination against any opponent, but especially against a Pirates team in a rut.

Look for another dominating performance from Flaherty as St. Louis completes the two-game sweep. When doing your MLB betting, make sure to take the Cardinals to get the win.

Pick: St. Louis Cardinals -220

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