Wednesday Night Baseball: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

One day after removing the interim tag from manager Mike Shildt, the Cardinals are looking to take the first two games of the three-game series against the Pirates after winning the first game 5-2 on Tuesday. The division rivals will square off with one team in the thick of the postseason race and the other one quickly slipping out of contention.

The Cardinals, winners of 8 of their last 10, currently sit 4 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central but also hold the first wild-card spot currently. The Pirates, on the other hand, sit 14 games back in the division and 8.5 out in the wild card. Still, the two will square off on Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Pirates (64-67) will travel to Busch Stadium to take on the St. Louis Cardinals (73-58).

The Pirates will send Trevor Williams (10-9, 3.44 ERA) to the mound while the Cardinals will counter with Miles Mikolas (13-3, 2.94 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 pm ET.

The money line for Wednesday night’s game is set at the Pittsburgh Pirates +158 and the St. Louis Cardinals -168. The over/under on runs scored is set at 8.

Pirates Looking To Play Spoiler As Season Winds Down

It has been a very inconsistent season for the Pirates. At times they have looked dominant, so much so that at the trade deadline they went out and picked up Chris Archer from the Rays for quite a bounty of young players. On the other hand, they have really struggled at times, too. For instance, in the month of August, they have gone 8-16 to date.

To try to end the skid, the Pirates will send righty Trevor Williams to the mound. On the season, Williams is 10-9 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and opponents are hitting .233 against him. In 136 innings, he has 90 strikeouts, 45 walks and has allowed 15 home runs. Williams has actually pitched pretty well as of late. In his last three starts, he has gone a combined 20 innings, allowing just 2 earned runs and striking out 10.

Offensively, Corey Dickerson has had a pretty nice season this year. He is hitting .298/.328/.466 with a .794 OPS. He has 11 home runs, 46 runs batted in and has scored 53 runs. For an offense that is relatively anemic, he has not performed too bad. One player that the Pirates were expecting a little more from is Starling Marte.

He is hitting .275/.323/.459 with a .782 OPS. He has 17 home runs, 58 runs batted in and has scored 66 runs. He has also added 29 stolen bases. While not awful, for a team that lacks star power on the offensive side, the Pirates hoped for a much bigger season.

Cardinals Looking To Give Cubs A Run For Their Money

With how the season started under Mike Matheny, the Cardinals will be happy to make the playoffs. New manager Mike Shildt would love to catch the Cubs, though. Only 4 games out, it is not inconceivable that it could be done, especially knowing that there is still an entire month left and their last series of the season is against the Cubs. Still, they have to take advantage of winning games now.

They will try to continue doing so on Wednesday with Miles Mikolas taking the mound. On the season, Mikolas is 13-3 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and opponents are hitting .245 against him. In 162 innings, he has struck out 112, walked just 26 and has allowed 14 home runs. He truly has been the MVP of the pitching staff.

Speaking of MVP, Matt Carpenter is making a real run at the National League MVP award. This season he is hitting .273/.385/.579 with a .963 OPS. He has 34 home runs, 71 runs batted in and has scored 87 runs. What is the most remarkable is that he really got off to a slow start this season. Watch out for Carpenter in Wednesday’s game because he has had success against Williams in his career. In 16 at-bats against him, he is hitting .438 with 3 home runs and 6 runs batted in.

Cards Take The First Two Games

It is really a matter of taking the hotter team in this one. Trevor Williams is having a nice season, but Miles Mikolas and the Cardinals are just playing some outstanding baseball in the month of August. I wouldn’t be surprised if Williams keeps it close, but I think this one ultimately goes to the Cardinals, and I think Matt Carpenter could play a large role in it. Take the Cardinals at -168.