The St. Louis Cardinals will travel back home after a shocking sweep to the San Diego Padres. They still remain in first place because of the amazing run they had earlier in the month, but the rest of the NL Central is creeping up. The Pittsburgh Pirates will head to St. Louis for their second series this season. This one will just be two games, though.
St. Louis owns a 23-18 record, placing them first in the division, and the Pirates have a 17-23 record that puts them last in the division. The NL Central has been so tight early on this season, and no single team has looked like the standout in this division. These two teams are first and last in the division, but just 5 games apart.
The Cardinals are 12-8 at home, so they will feel more comfortable heading back to Busch Stadium than playing at Petco Park. The Pirates have a similar record at home (8-11) and away (9-12), so they should be ready for what the Cardinals have to offer this series.
The Pirates are coming off a four-game stretch against the Giants, in which they broke even with a 2-2 showing. The Cardinals, as mentioned earlier, are coming off of an embarrassing sweep to the deplete Padres. Both teams will look to bounce back from below-average series.
Padres vs Cardinals Series
The Cardinals were just unable to pull out a win down in San Diego. The entire series felt like the Cardinals played well, but the Padres just played better. On the plus side, Nolan Arenado has found his groove, homering in the three consecutive games.
On Friday night’s matchup, the Cards lost by just 1 run. The score was 5-1 heading all the way into the 8th inning and the Cardinals made a push to get within 1, but weren’t able to pull it out. Tyler O’Neil stayed hot with a two-run home run, and Nolan Arenado started his home-run streak with a blast in the 9th.
Saturday night’s game was not the night for St. Louis. Adam Wainwright was on the bump and had a game he would love to forget about. He let up 6 runs in 4 innings pitched; then the next 7 runs came off of the relievers. The final score was 13-3, and the three Cardinal runs were solo dingers from Bader, Molina, and Arenado.
Sunday night’s prime time contest was aired on ESPN. The Padres were throwing out a young Ryan Weathers to the mound, and the Cardinals were all over him. Arenado ripped a rocket to the short corner in left field to start off the first inning, but Trent Grisham saved two runs with a diving catch in the same inning. The Cardinals bats went cold the rest of the game, and they ended up losing 5-3 on national TV.
Cardinals vs Pirates Series
Pittsburgh is in the bottom half of the league in every major statistical offensive category. They have not been able to get the bats going through about a quarter of the way through this season. They are currently 16th in hits and 28th in runs scored. The reason for this is most likely because they don’t have any big names that can come through when needed.
Their top three hitters this year have been Adam Frazier, Bryan Reynolds, and Jacob Stallings. None of these three have ever been to an all-star game or even been the best on their previous teams. The Pirates have struggled all year to score against opposing pitchers but will look to change that against the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are in desperate need of a win against the Pirates. They have been hitting the ball alright, but have not been pitched well at all. The bullpen has been the downside, as they have allowed almost 100 walks this year already. St. Louis fans will be ready to cheer on their team in this division matchup against the Bucs.
Pitcher Probables and Prediction
Tuesday, May 18th: JT Brubaker vs John Gant
JT Brubaker is 3-2 and owns a 2.58 ERA on the year. Brubaker has pitched all year and has been a consistent starter for the Pirates. On the other hand, John Gant has an even better of 1.83, but just a 2-3 record. I think Gant will get the better of this Pirates team and win this game for the Cardinals.
Wednesday, May 19th: Trevor Cahill vs Jack Flaherty
Jack Flaherty will be on the bump for St. Louis and has been electric to start the year. He is 7-0 with a 2.47 ERA, which are CY Young type of numbers to start the year. Trevor Cahill has been a weakness for the Pirates all year, with a 1-4 record and a 5.97 ERA. The Cardinals will win this game, and Flaherty will continue his excellence.
In the end, I believe the Cardinals will bounce back for this two-game series. They have arguably their best two pitchers on the mound and will be hungry for a few wins. As long as the Cardinal bats can all get hot at the right time, I have no doubt this will be a sweep for St. Louis.