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Red hot Cardinals head home to take on Pirates

Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals remain one of the hottest teams in baseball. They just took two out of three games in Colorado for their ninth straight series win and they currently sit in the first Wild Card spot.

The Redbirds will be looking for ten straight series wins starting tonight against the Pirates at Busch Stadium. They are 34-28 at home this season and have a 35-26 record against the NL Central. In 13 games against Pittsburgh this year they’ve gone 7-6.

Game One

Game one of the series will feature veteran Ivan Nova and rookie Jack Flaherty.

Nova hasn’t had the best season in 2018. He’s gone 7-8 with a 4.20 ERA, 4.53 FIP, 1.270 WHIP and 95 strikeouts over 137 innings. In his last outing, he did pitch well, despite taking the loss against the Braves. He threw six innings and only allowed two runs on four hits.

Nova has one start against the Cardinals this season where he went four innings and allowed four runs. He took the loss in that game as well. Throughout his career, Nova has made five starts against the Redbirds. Over those five games, he is 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA.

Flaherty, on the other hand, has pitched very well this year, in his first full Major League season. He’s made 21 starts, posting a 7-6 record, 2.97 ERA and 3.76 FIP. His last start was impressive. He went six innings, allowed just one run and struck out 10 against the Dodgers in LA.

This will be Flaherty’s fifth start against the Pirates this season alone. Over the previous four starts, he’s gone 2-1 and put up a 2.86 ERA. The last one of the four came on August fourth in Pittsburgh. In that game, he picked up a win going six innings without allowing a run.

Game Two

Wednesday night’s game will be pitched by Trevor Williams and Miles Mikolas. Both pitchers have had good seasons, with the edge going to Mikolas.

Williams has gone 10-9 with a 3.44 ERA this year and a 4.32 FIP. He also has a 2.1 WAR according to Baseball Reference. His last start was against Atlanta. In that game, he took a no-decision after pitching six innings of one-run baseball.

The Cardinals have seen Williams as much as the Pirates have seen Flaherty this season. The Redbirds have gotten the better of him more often than not though. In his four starts against St. Louis his gone 1-2 with a 5.85 ERA.

Mikolas has pitched well enough to compete for a Cy Young award in other years when Jacob DeGrom and Max Scherzer weren’t around. He’s got a 13-3 record and 2.94 ERA over 26 starts this season. In his last time out he went just 4.2 innings and gave up four runs to the Rockies. It wasn’t all bad though. He hit a 400+ foot, go ahead, two-run home run in that game.

Miles has three starts against Pittsburgh this year. In the first, he went seven innings and allowed just two runs on seven strikeouts back on April 27. The next wasn’t as good for Mik, though the Cards did win the game. On May 27 he went six innings, gave up four runs and struck out five. He bounced back in his next start though, which was his third against the Bucs. Miles threw another six innings on June first, this time allowing just one run, but unfortunately took the loss as the Cardinals were shut out.

Game Three

The matchup for the third game of the series hasn’t been completely set yet. The Pirates will send out Joe Musgrove, but the Redbirds haven’t announced who will start for them. It would be John Gant’s spot, but the off-day Monday gives the Cardinals a chance to mix up the rotation.

Musgrove has had a solid season, putting up a 5-7 record, 3.56 ERA, 3.73 FIP and a 1.7 WAR according to Baseball Reference. He went just four innings in his last start against Milwaukee though and allowed four runs. He’s made one start against the Cardinals this season back on May 25th. It was his first of the season and it was a good one. Joe threw seven shutout innings in that start and picked up his first win of the season.

 

Featured Image by Cardsblog

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