(Adam Wainwright photo courtesy Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports)
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Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.
When and Where: Saturday, Aug. 10, Busch Stadium, St. Louis, 7:15 p.m. EDT.
It may be a season of inconsistency for Adam Wainwright, but there has always been the positives of facing the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The veteran right-hander seeks a second straight winning start over his NL Central rivals and 15th overall Saturday night as the St. Louis Cardinals continue their series.
Musgrove looks to end run of misery versus Cards
Joe Musgrove (8-10, 4.69) would be an above-.500 pitcher had he avoided the Cardinals this year as he enters this match trying to avoid a fourth defeat in as many starts against them in 2019 and sixth consecutive losing start overall.
This year’s struggles have been especially evident as Musgrove has a 12.08 ERA in three losses and been tagged for 19 runs and 18 hits with nine walks in 12 2-3 innings. The Cardinals belted three home runs off him in the most recent outing, a 6-3 win July 25 in which they scored all six runs off him in five innings.
The right-hander also endured a miserable outing Sunday, matching a season worst with eight runs allowed in 3 2-3 innings as the New York Mets routed Pittsburgh 13-2.
“We’ve got to get back to trusting each other and taking care of our own jobs,” he told The Athletic earlier this week regarding Pittsburgh’s struggles since the All-Star break. “These past couple of weeks, you realizing our record and where we’ve been, then you start a game and you’re down 3-0 in the first couple of innings, a lot of those feelings come back like, ‘This happened last night. This happened the night before that.’ That becomes really hard to get out of.”
Musgrove is 2-5 with a 4.96 ERA in nine starts against NL Central teams, with both wins coming against Cincinnati. Dexter Fowler has been a tough out for the righty, going 5 for 11 with two doubles, a triple, and a homer, and Paul Goldschmidt has taken him deep while going 5 for 10.
Wainwright looking to avoid first home loss to Bucs since 2013
Wainwright’s 14 career wins versus the Pirates are his third-most against any opponent, trailing only the 16 accumulated against the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers. The right-hander has gone 3-0 with a 4.72 ERA in his last 10 starts versus Pittsburgh, but he has shined in this matchup more at home, going 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in the last 11 since a 14-5 loss on June 29, 2012.
The righty was not as fortunate Sunday in Oakland, where he took the loss after yielding three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss. Wainwright walked three in that game and has issued 10 over 16 innings in his last three starts.
“We’d just scored [on a Paul DeJong homer], and the last thing you want to do is give it back,” Wainwright lamented to the Cards’ official website about the fourth inning. “I didn’t execute. If I did, I’d never have to make that pitch to Garneau. The inning would have been over.”
Wainwright has been solid at home, going 5-2 with a 2.26 ERA in 10 starts while holding opponents to two or fewer runs in seven of them.
The Cardinals are:
- 22-5 in Wainwright’s last 27 Saturday starts.
- 13-3 in Wainwright’s last 16 home starts vs. the Pirates.
- 49-16 in Wainwright’s last 65 starts vs. sub-.500 teams.
The Pirates are:
- 5-11 in Musgrove’s last 16 road starts.
- 0-5 in Musgrove’s last five starts vs. the Cardinals.
- 3-9 in Musgrove’s last 12 road starts vs. above-.500 teams.
Cardinals OVER 4.5 runs (-131)
St. Louis’ track record against Musgrove this season offers plenty of confidence in this pick, as does Pittsburgh’s overall struggles. Musgrove is part of a rotation that sports a 6.60 ERA over the last 18 games, and the starting pitchers alone have yielded five or more runs eight times in that span.
The Cardinals have scored five or more runs in 10 of the 14 games between the teams, including five of eight at home.
Cardinals -1.5 runs (+115)
The converging head-to-head track records for the pitchers against the teams in this matchup are too good to ignore, which means the expectation is for Wainwright to continue his home dominance in this matchup while Musgrove gets saddled with another loss to the Cardinals.
The fact the Pirates have been awful since the All-Star break also contributes to taking St. Louis on the run line. They also have dropped 13 of their last 15 on the road.
Cardinals -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-125)
This is primarily an anti-Musgrove pick since the Cardinals are 1-2 at the five-inning mark in Wainwright’s three starts versus Pittsburgh this year. Musgrove, though, is 0-3 against the Cardinals, and the larger trend of the Pirates struggling plays into this pick.
Pittsburgh is 1-6-1 at the midway point in its last eight games versus St. Louis and 1-8-1 in its lat 10 on the road.
OVER 8.5 runs (-115)
With Musgrove’s season-long struggles against the Cardinals, you may want to grab this if it is still out there and avoid the potential of it inching higher to nine runs. The over is 6-0 in his last six starts on five days’ rest, 5-1 in his last six road starts, and 10-4-1 in his last 15 overall.
The over has also been a friend to bettors when Wainwright faces the Pirates, going 12-5-3 in his last 20 home starts and 22-8-5 in his last 35 overall.
OVER 5 runs first 5 innings (-105)
The extra half-run to make it five flat makes this a toss-up pick. The five-inning over is 1-1-1 in Musgrove’s three starts against the Cardinals, and 2-1 in Wainwright’s three versus the Pirates. The hedge is St. Louis finally breaks out offensively early, with the over 3-1-1 in Musgrove’s last five starts heading into this contest.
Cardinals -0.5 runs first 3 innings (+105)
A trend pick worth taking a flyer on at plus-money. The Cardinals have led after three innings in all three matchups with Musgrove this year, including leads of 6-2 and 3-0 in the two games in St. Louis. Pittsburgh has also trailed after three innings in six of its last eight games, going 1-6-1 in that stretch.