Cards/Pirates Series Preview
NL CENTRAL POWERS CARDS AND PIRATES BEGIN FIVE-GAME SET MONDAY IN STEEL CITY
Wow…the two NL teams with the best records don’t play each other in May, June, or most of July…then the divisional rivals are matched up for FIVE games in the next four days! Rain took away a game in an earlier St. Louis trip to Pittsburgh. They’ll make that up Tuesday as part of a day-night doubleheader.
We’ve never run probable pitchers for a five-game series before…so let’s get to the numbers!
St. Louis… Westbrook: 7-4, 2.95 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
Pittsburgh…Liriano: 10-4, 2.23 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Westbrook has pitched in extremely good fortune this year. That’s the only way you can turn a WHIP near 1.40 into an ERA below 3.00! A lot of guys are getting on base but not coming around to score. Baseball history makes it very clear that those guys will eventually come around to score.
Liriano is having a great year for the Bucs, with the stellar stats you see above triggered by 92K’s in only 88.2 innings. Another strong piece of evidence that the AL is much better than the NL! Liriano had trouble getting outs over in the superior league. He’s pitched like an ace for the Pirates. Edge to Pittsburgh in the opener.
TUESDAY’S GAME ONE PITCHERS
St. Louis … Lyons: 2-3, 5.51 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Pittsburgh …Burnett: 4-7, 2.96 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
You never know with double-headers. One manager may switch around his pitching order. Or, maybe a different guy from the bullpen will get the call at the last second. For now, the league is showing Lyons-Burnett in the first game…which gives a strong advantage to the Pirates. Lyons was called up from the minors just to deal with this extra game. He struggled badly in his last four Major League outings a month ago. Burnett has pitched in bad-luck in terms of run support, and hasn’t really sparkled since returning from a month’s stay on the Disabled List with a bad calf.
TUESDAY’S GAME TWO PITCHERS
St. Louis … Lynn: 12-5, 3.98 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Pittsburgh …Gomez: 2-0, 2.59 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
Lynn has shown an extreme road/home split this season. That overall ERA of 3.98 splits the difference from a terrible 5.59 road ERA. This is a road game obviously…so more bad news for the Cards. The offense will really need to step up in these first few games…or Lyons and Lynn will have to better recent norms.
Gomez has done well in a few spot starts for the Pirates. They have so much pitching right now that he’s still mostly being used out of the bullpen.
St. Louis …Wainwright: 13-6, 2.51 ERA, 1.03 WHIP
Pittsburgh … Locke: 9-3, 2.15 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Great pitching match-up here. Wainwright took the loss in a game we previewed last week down in Atlanta. He did throw a quality start in that game…and is on the short list of Cy Young candidates this year. Locke is there as well…though the entire stat-head universe is still convinced he’ll crash and burn at some point because of his low strikeout rate. Pitching to contact can be a big problem against these strong St. Louis bats. This showcase pitcher’s duel will be nationally televised by ESPN.
St. Louis …Kelly: 1-3, 3.44 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
Pittsburgh … Morton: 3-2, 3.59 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Interesting finale. Will both teams be drained of energy after four big games in three days. Each starting pitcher is vulnerable…because those aren’t really strong numbers in the inferior National League (particularly since these two elite teams haven’t seem much of each other yet!). JIM HURLEY will be in close contact with his sources to get a read on mindset and attitude heading into this series finale that will be televised nationally on the MLB Network.
NETWORK is likely to have at least one major release in this series. We’ll also be playing close attention to early week match-ups like NY Yankees/LA Dodgers (which we’ll preview on these pages Tuesday), Washington/Detroit, and any games involving pennant race teams. You can purchase game day BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
We’ll talk baseball through the week…then our annual summer series of NFL Divisional previews will begin on Sunday to get you ready for the Hall of Fame game matching the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
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