On Friday, the weekend series between St. Louis and Pittsburgh will begin at 8:15 P.M ET at Busch Stadium. Recently, the Cardinals have dominated the series, winning their last five meetings against the Bucs.
Bucs in a Huge Rut Since Break
When the second half began, the Pirates were a fringe postseason contender, sitting one game below .500. According to FanGraphs, they had about a 1-in-10 shot to make the postseason, which isn’t a huge chance but the work they’ve done since has erased the idea altogether. Going into Friday, the Bucs have a zero-percent chance at postseason glory, per FanGraphs.
In their last five games, the Pirates haven’t won a single game, allowing 41 runs (8.2 per game). Those five losses brings their second-half record to a putrid 4–21.
The offense has been as bad as the pitching staff, too. Josh Bell, who made the All-Star Game this year, is largely responsible. He bailed them out a ton in the first half of the season, hitting 27 home runs, but since the break, he hasn’t knocked a single pitch out of the park and he’s hitting just .176. Adam Frazier and Elias Diaz, two other Pirates’ starters, are also hitting below .200 since the break.
Luckily, their best pitcher, Chris Archer, will go on Friday against the Cardinals. While his record doesn’t reflect success (3-8), he’s allowing opposing hitters to hit just .219 in his last eight starts (43 IP).
Cards Need Big Series
If you’re a fan of the Cardinals, you’re not happy right now but you might be after the team finishes their series with Pittsburgh. St. Louis has dropped five in a row, putting them four-games back of the NL Central lead a half-game back of the final NL Wild Card spot. Luckily, the Pirates have been the sorriest team in baseball since the break so they could sweep and erase all bad memories of the last week.
While they’ve been losing, it’s not a two-pronged problem; their pitching staff is holding teams to a .235 BA in August, but the offense has failed to provide run support. Altogether, they’ve been outscored 25-15 in August. That’s not that many runs allowed (4.1/game) but 2.5/game on offense won’t cut it. As a team, they’re hitting .218 in August while averaging 10 strikeouts per game.
Dakota Hudson is in line to start on Friday. He’s struggled recently, allowing more earned runs (8) than innings pitched (7.2) in his last two starts, both losses. On the season, though, he’s 10-6 with a sub-4.00 ERA.
St. Louis is:
- 20-8 in their last 28 games vs. Pittsburgh.
- 10-2 in their last 12 games vs. NL Central.
- 5-21 in their last 26 overall.
- 0-5 in their last 5 games vs. St. Louis.
- 7-21 in their last 28 road games.
- 0-3 in their last 3 games vs. St. Louis w/Archer starting.