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MLB Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

In the middle game of a three game series, the Pittsburgh Pirates play at the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night. These two teams came into the series tied at 8 on the season, and the Pirates were just two behind St. Louis for the wildcard position in the National League. After the win on Monday for St. Louis, not only did they pull into first place, but they also took the season series lead over the Pirates. St. Louis scored three runs late in the game to win their third straight, while the Pirates lost their second in a row.

The St. Louis Cardinals are turning to their ace Adam Wainwright in this one. Wainwright has struggled as of late; losing his last two starts. In those starts, Wainwright has pitched 12 innings and allowed 14 hits and 7 earned runs. The Pirates downed Wainwright in his last start on August 27th. On the season, the Cardinals ace has thrown 188 innings, striking out 150 batters, while walking just 45. The Cardinals offense has struggled through most of the season, but have seen Matt Holliday pick up the pace a bit. Coming into Monday, Holliday has 78 runs batted in; to lead the way. St. Louis with their weekend barrage of runs has moved into 26th in Major League Baseball with 521 runs scored. St. Louis pitching has a team earned run average of 3.66, while their starting pitchers have 75 quality starts; which is 12th in baseball.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will counter with Jeff Locke on the mound. The 26 year old is 6-3 on the season. In his most recent start against the Cardinals, he went 7.1 innings, allowed 6 hits and 1 run; just a Matt Holliday homerun. The Pittsburgh starter has won his last four decisions, and his last loss came on July 31st at Arizona. The Pirates offense has welcomed the surge of Andrew McCutchen, who is still ailing a bit. The centerfielder for the Pirates leads the team with 20 homeruns and 71 runs batted in, while scoring 70 runs. Josh Harrison, the All Star, has been sensational at the plate, leading the team with a .310 batting average. Pittsburgh ranks second in all of MLB with a .329 on base percentage.

This is a tough game to predict, because both teams are playing so well, and both teams know they need to come away with a win. Adam Wainwright has lost two in a row, and its hard to imagine he will drop his third straight decision. Pittsburgh offense has found a way to rough up the Cardinals pitchers as of late, but look for that to change a little bit. Wainwright will throw a nice game in this one, and the St. Louis offense will come through just enough. We are going to bet the St. Louis Cardinals -145 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday evening.

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