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Series Preview: Pirates at Cardinals

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The Pirates and Cardinals, two teams trending in opposite directions, square off at Busch Stadium in St. Louis for a three game division series. The Cards, winners of their last two, stay put at home where they hold a 26-19 record this season. Pittsburgh continues their road trip in the Midwest after being swept by the National League Central-leading Chicago Cubs.

St. Louis has scored 38 runs less than the Pirates this season but have also prevented 91 less runs. The Cardinals are three games back in the NL Central while Pittsburgh has fallen to 5.5 games back.

The season series is currently knotted up at 3-3 after St Louis took the first two games in early April, then dropped three of four in May despite the outscoring the Pirates 25-18.

The only known starter for the Pirates right now is Joe Musgrove. Tuesday and Wednesday have starters to be determined. Curious as to what the Bucs have planned for their pitching staff this series.

Schedule

Monday, 8:15 p.m — Joe Musgrove (6-7, 4.15 ERA) vs. Miles Mikolas (5-9, 4.53 ERA)
TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT

Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. — TBD vs. Jack Flaherty (4-6, 4.64 ERA)
TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT

Wednesday, 1:15 p.m. — TBD vs. Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0, 1.99 ERA)
TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT

All games EST

Cardinals Notes

Offense

-Kolten Wong has been the Cards’ best hitter in July, posting a .375 batting average. Though he’s not hitting for power, his BABIP of .474 with no walks shows he’s seeing the ball really well lately.

-Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Wieters have been providing the power for St. Louis this month, with ISOs of .333 and .300 respectively. They have five home runs and 11 RBIs between them.

-Paul DeJong isn’t having a great July, hitting just .200 with a .240 BABIP. He’s striking out in only 15.2% of plate appearances but his wRC+ of 34 is a bane to the lineup.

Pitching

-Since June, Miles Mikolas has had only two good starts; back-to-back against the Marlins and Angels (June 17th and 23rd). He’s allowed at least three earned runs in all other starts during that time frame. His last two outings (at San Diego and at San Francisco) saw the righty go ten innings and give up seven earned runs on 15 hits. However, he struck out ten batters without a single walk. In fact, Mikolas has walked just three batters in his last five starts. He’s faced Pittsburgh twice this season, going five innings and allowing three earned runs back on April 4th and two runs off of three hits in seven innings on May 11th.

-Game two starter Jack Flaherty had a great start against the Giants on July 7th, going seven strong innings of two-hit ball with just one earned run (a HR) with six strikeouts and one walk. However, he hasn’t held opponents to under two earned runs since May 26th. From June 8th to July 2nd, Flaherty has an ERA of 4.60 but with a 17-2 K/BB rate. He’s yet to face the Pirates in 2019

-Daniel Ponce de Leon closes out the three game series Wednesday afternoon. He’s making his fourth start of the season, each of which have been terrific. He’s pitched 21.2 innings and yielded three earned runs (two HRs) with 23 Ks and eight walks. In his last outing against the Diamondbacks on the 12th, he allowed only three hits with one earned run (a HR) with seven strikeouts and no walks. This will be Ponce de Leon’s first time facing the Pirates.

Tonight’s first pitch is scheduled for 8:15 EST on ATT SportsNet-PIT.