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Series Preview: Bucs and Cards Look to End Losing Streaks

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St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Pirates travel to the state of Missouri on Friday for a three-game weekend tilt against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Something is going to have to give, as both teams bring five-game losing streaks into this divisional series. The Pirates are coming off a sweep at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, while the Cards are just returning from a West Coast road trip that saw them lose two games to the Oakland As and all three games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Bucs continue their post All-Star Break skid, now sitting at 4-21 since the Midsummer Classic, and 18 games below .500 on the year. Meanwhile, the Red Birds are still very much alive in the division, sitting just four games behind the first place Cubs and a half game behind the Brewers for the second Wild Card spot. St. Louis is still three games above .500.

Schedule

Friday, 8:15 p.m. — Chris Archer (3-8, 5.35) vs. Dakota Hudson (10-6 3.99). TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT

Saturday, 7:15 p.m. — Joe Musgrove (8-10, 4.69) vs. Adam Wainwright (7-8, 4.50). TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT

Sunday, 2:15 p.m. — Steven Brault (3-1, 4.09) vs. TBD. TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT

All games EST

Cardinals Notes

Offense

- Left fielder Marcell Ozuna will be healthy for this series after being injured for the last two meetings between these teams. He’s off to a slow start since returning on August 3rd, collecting just two hits on 16 at-bats, but he did homer in the Cards’ last game on Wednesday. You know he’ll be looking to get back on track now that the team is back home and he’s had a day off.

- The same can be said for veteran third baseman and perpetual Pirate killer Matt Carpenter, as he returned a day later than Ozuna, August 4th. Carpenter is 4-for-14 since his return, but all four hits have been singles. He should help fuel what was already a dangerous offense when these two bats were shelved for the past handful of weeks.

- Meanwhile first baseman Paul Goldschmidt cooled off a bit on the West Coast after starting an impressive 11-game hitting streak (hitting seven homers in that span) the last time these two teams met. He’s hitless in the last four contests, so he’ll look to heat back up against what has been some very beatable Pirates pitching of late.

Pitching

- Dakota Hudson will take the ball for the Cardinals on Friday night, and he’s been shaky at best lately. He’s allowed at least three runs in each of his last four starts and eclipsed five innings pitched in just one of those outings. Of course, that was his start in Pittsburgh in which he logged a win, throwing 6.1 innings and notching a quality start.

- It’s been much of the same for Saturday’s starter Adam Wainwright. The veteran has allowed 11 runs in his last four starts (21.1 innings pitched). He’s also walked an abnormally high 13 batters in that span. So he’s been bending but not completely breaking over the past few weeks. We’ll see if the Buccos can take advantage when they inevitably get runners on base.