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Series Preview: Cardinals at Pirates

88th MLB All-Star Game - Batting Practice Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Pirates-Cardinals right out of the all-star break. That would’ve knocked your socks off a few years ago. Now, they’re both under .500, unable to take advantage in a sluggish NL Central, the Cardinals 5 1/2 games back of the first-place Brewers, the Pirates seven back.

When last we met for regular old baseball, the Pirates (42-47) took two of three from the Cubs in Chicago. The Cardinals won two of three over the Mets.

Season Series: 4-2 Cardinals

At St. Louis:

April 17: Cardinals 2, Pirates 1

April 18: Cardinals 2, Pirates 1

April 19: Cardinals 2, Pirates 1

At St. Louis:

June 23: Pirates 4, Cardinals 3

June 24: Pirates 7, Cardinals 3

June 25: Cardinals 8, Pirates 4


Friday, 7:05 p.m. - Mike Leake (6-7, 3.12 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (7-7, 4.43), TV: Root AT&T SportsNet

Saturday, 7:05 p.m. - Lance Lynn (7-6, 3.61) vs. Jameson Taillon (5-2, 2.73), TV: Root AT&T SportsNet

Sunday, 1:35 p.m. - Carlos Martinez (6-8, 3.40) vs. Trevor Williams (3-4, 4.80), TV: Root AT&T SportsNet

- The Saturday and Sunday starters are via the PG’s Stephen J. Nesbitt.


43-45 (45-43 Pythag, 4.57 RS/G, 4.42 RA/G)


Cardinals position players are a run-of-the-mill 15th in the majors as a group in fWAR (10.2). Tommy Pham (.299/.386/.510) leads the group ... and I wouldn’t have guessed that. They’ve got a couple hot-starting rookies: Paul DeJong has nine home runs in 133 plate appearances, and Luke Voit had three homers and five doubles in 41 plate appearances.


St. Louis’ pitching, particularly starting pitching, has remained strong. Carlos Martinez (9.90 K/9, 3.48 BB/9, 3.40 ERA, 3.68 xFIP, 2.1 fWAR — 15th best among MLB pitchers) has a 6-8 record, so he must not be very good. Mike Leake is effective without the strikeouts, and Lance Lynn appears to be back on the horse. Trevor Rosenthal is striking out 14.31 batters per nine innings, while Seung-Hwan Oh looks to be closing up shop just fine.


I wouldn’t advise fans of either of these teams to take high expectations into the second half, but I suppose a big series could spring a team into the division race.

For the Pirates, this series and the next one — four with Milwaukee — could set the tone for what kind of team we’re looking at the next couple months.


How does this series go?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Pirates sweep!
    (87 votes)
  • 49%
    2-1 Pirates
    (178 votes)
  • 17%
    2-1 Cardinals
    (61 votes)
  • 8%
    Cardinals sweep
    (32 votes)
358 votes total Vote Now