National League Central foes start their season as the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals battle.
Pirates’ New Management Will be Tested Against Powerhouse Cardinals
Starting this season’s 60-game sprint to the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Pirates will face the reigning National League Central champions St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals have challenges, starting with the loss of their premier cleanup hitter, Marcell Ozuna, to the Atlanta Braves via free agency. They will be looking to their new leadoff hitter Kolten Wong to set the pace and bring consistency to their offense.
In the meanwhile, the Pirates are looking to turn this short regular season to their advantage. With the addition of new general manager, Ben Cherington, the Pirates are hoping to make a strong impression. Considered to be a new era in the team’s history, the question is whether the hard work will pay off immediately?
Let’s check out how this matchup between the Pirates and the Cardinals is looking on our MLB odds page in our sportsbook. For those of you who are new to MLB betting, be sure to check out our MLB betting guide page.
Pirates vs Cardinals Overview
Pirates Gear Up for a Tough Season
With new management and a handful of new players, the Pirates are hoping to invigorate their squad and make a run for the playoffs. With only 60 games to play, anything can happen this year.
Leading the Pirates will be players like 1B Josh Bell, SP Joe Musgrove, who gets the Opening-Day start, and OF Bryan Reynolds. Alongside these veterans will be prospects like Jared Oliva, Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Will Craig.
Experts believe Pittsburgh is stronger than the team that went 69-93 last season. Perhaps most interesting is the depth of the youth. Last season, nine players made their MLB debut. This should translate into having some experience to draw from and should lead to better production.
The main question is if this short season will be kind to a relatively inexperienced team, or if it will buckle.
Cardinals Look to Repeat Last Year’s Success
With the loss of Ozuna, the Cardinals are counting on homegrown players to continue their strong showing from last year. With returnees like SS Paul DeJong, SB Kolten Wong, and SP Jack Flaherty; the Cardinals will have many of the same faces in 2020. Flaherty will face the Pirates in the opener.
In 2019, the Cardinals made a name for themselves as one of the best defensive teams. Although some pundits are raising eyebrows at the depth of their pitching squad, they finished the year as one of the highest-ranked teams in the National League league in terms of defensive efficiency. They also allowed the fewest runners to reach base on grounders in all of MLB. An interesting statistic to keep in mind when pondering wagers.
There’s little doubt that the Cardinals will have an excellent defensive team again. The big question is if they can step up their offense. Compared to other teams they didn’t exactly make a lot of moves this off-season, which surely has some fans concerned.
If they can remain steady with their pitching and defense and only marginally increase their offensive prowess we could be looking at a major contender. For a reigning division champ, though, there are questions hovering.
Pirates vs Cardinals 2019 Season Matchups
In 2019, these teams played against each other 19 times with the Cardinals winning 14. There was a two-run differential in the favor of St. Louis overall in the head-to-head matchups last season.
BetUS Free MLB Pick: St. Louis Cardinals (-200) Moneyline
As far as betting, there appear to be opportunities. The Cardinals are much stronger. The run line seems a little riskier since there are some question marks surrounding the strength of their offense. We could be looking at a close, low-scoring affair.