MLB Free Pick: Pirates @ Cardinals 8/14/13
Date/Time: August 14th, 8:15 PM ET
MLB Betting Odds from BetOnline Sportsbook
Probable Starters: Liriano (Pittsburgh) vs. Miller (St. Louis)
Moneyline: Cardinals -119 Total:7
The leaders of the pack in the NL Central are going to meet in MLB betting action on Wednesday night in a crucial clash between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Pirates really helped turn their season around when they won four out of five games against these Cardinals just two weeks ago at home. The last thing they want to do is come here to St. Louis and ultimately get swept, costing them the NL Central lead and forcing them back towards the pack in the NL Wild Card race. There isn't a fear about getting into the playoffs, but there is obviously a huge difference between facing the Cincinnati Reds in a play-in game and being clear as perhaps the #1 seed in the playoffs. LHP Francisco Liriano is going to be dealing on Wednesday night, and that's generally a great thing for Pirates bettors. Liriano is 12-5 on the season with a 2.83 ERA, but he is coming off of one of the worst outings of his career. The southpaw allowed 12 hits and 10 runs in 2.1 innings of work against the Colorado Rockies just five days ago, and he that ended a stretch of 21.2 innings of work in which he allowed just one total run.
The Cards can get back into a tie for first place in the NL Central if they can win these next two days, and that's the only goal on the mind of Manager Mike Matheny. He's got one of his best on the mound in this one in RHP Shelby Miller. Miller is only 11-7 on the year, but the team is 14-8 in his 22 starts on the season. Things always seem to go relatively well with Miller out there, and there's a good reason for that. He has a 1.14 WHIP and a 2.89 ERA, and he has 132 strikeouts against 35 walks.
However, there is a massive concern right now about Miller's elbow. After throwing just two pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Miller took a line drive to the elbow that caused him to leave the game. The club lost that night 13-4, but the bigger concern was that Miller was going to be okay. X-rays were negative, but this is the first start that he has made since that point seven days ago.
Our lack of confidence in Miller is definitely alarming in this one, and it is a sight for sore eyes if he isn't going to be pitching at his best. Liriano is a mixed bag, and he is either really, really good or really, really dreadful. If he turns out to be at his best, as we expect that he will be, the Bucs will win this game at least half the time. Pittsburgh Pirates @ St. Louis Cardinals Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates +110