Today to Pirates will face the Cardinals for their second game of the weekend series. Today’s game will begin at 2:15 ET, and feature the Cardinals Ace, Adam Wainwright. Jeff Locke will take the start for the Pirates.
These two teams have had an incredible battle since 2013. With the Pirates victory last night, they now have the advantage with a 31-30 record against the Red Birds. Whats more impressive, is for the season they are 4-0 on the year as well. Today will be the toughest matchup of the season though, as the Cardinals will put Wainwright up against Locke to try and end their string of losses.
Wainwright has not just been one of the best pitchers of the Cardinals for a decade, but one of the best in the game as well. He owns a career 3.06 ERA and a 130 ERA+. Unfortunately for St. Louis, this pitcher hasn’t arrived in any start of 2016. To date, Wainwright holds a 6.68 ERA for 2016 and his best start came on May 2, while playing the Phillies. There he went 6 innings while allowing 3 earned runs and striking out four. He hasn’t allowed any less than three earned runs all year, and whats even more troubling is the teams he has pitched against. When you exclude the opening day game verse the Pirates, he has pitched against the Braves, Reds, Diamondbacks, Padres, and Phillies. These teams combined have a 41% winning percentage and are not known for having great offenses.
Jeff Locke on the other hand, well Jeff Locke is also not a great pitcher. What he is though, is a #5 starter who is pitching better than Wainwright and coming off of two really improved starts. For the season he holds a 4.73 ERA, though he’s pitched to a 2.08 ERA in his past two starts. In reality, Locke has three quality starts in the five starts he’s pithed this season. Unlike Wainwright, Lock’s best start of the season came against a very powerful Rockies lineup that even took place in Coors Field. In that game, Locke posted 6 innings while allowing 0 earned runs and striking out eight. Today will be another big test for this pitcher as the Cardinals offense is no slouch.
Today’s lineup will be exactly what it was from last night. Gregory Polanco will once again take the three spot, while Jung Ho Kang will play third and bat sixth. In an effort to keep Kang healthy and fresh all season, Cling Hurdle plans to play Kang only two straight days while sitting him during the third. Even though yesterday’s game was a night game and being followed up by a day game today, they feel comfortable in allowing Kang to play today on that short rest.
What seems to be a pretty crazy stat, everyone in Pittsburgh lineup is batting over .300, except for the top two, John Jaso and Andrew McCutchen. This shows more to the depth of this team than it does the slumping of Cutch. Pittsburgh can do damage on offense in many different way and any point of the game, and that is what separates this team form years past. They will continue to improve upon the pitching to force that magical post season run.