After winning home stand, Pirates shift focus to division rival Cardinals

The Pittsburgh Pirates won four of six games of their last home stand against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins and will now shift their focus to their division rival, the St. Louis Cardinals,
Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
2 of 3


Fans in St. Louis should be treated to some quality pitching matchups this week. Here are the projected starters for the three-game series.

TUESDAY: Paul Skenes vs Miles Mikolas

It's every Pirates fan's favorite day of the week: Paul Skenes Day on Tuesday. The rookie right-hander enters Tuesday evening with a 3-0 record and a 3.00 ERA through five starts and 27 innings pitched. He has struck out 38 so far in his time on the mound while walking six, a strikeout to walk ratio of 6.33. Last time out against the Dodgers, Skenes was impressive, allowing three runs in five innings while striking out eight. It was the most earned runs he'd allowed since his debut last month against the Chicago Cubs, but overall, the righty posted an impressive performance against a very good Dodgers lineup.

For the Cardinals, Miles Mikolas will take the mound, sporting a 5.32 ERA in 13 starts. He has pitched slightly better than the numbers indicate, posting a FIP of 4.53; however, his ERA+ entering the start is still sitting at a meager 77. He's been solid overall in his last five starts, though,allowing three earned runs or less in each start while going six innings in four of the five outings. He's been getting hit around, allowing 77 hits in 71 innings pitched, but hasn't walked many, with just 14 free passes. He's sporting a 1.8 BB/9, which is his career average.

Notably, Rowdy Tellez, Ke'Bryan Hayes, and Bryan Reynolds all have quality career numbers against Mikolas in their careers.

WEDNESDAY: Bailey Falter vs Sonny Gray

On Wednesday, Bailey Falter will look to bounce back from a tough outing against the Dodgers in which he allowed five earned runs in four innings of work, surrendering eight hits and a pair of walks. It was his worst outing of the season since April when he allowed five runs in five innings against the Oakland Athletics. He also allowed six runs in four innings in his season debut back on March 31 against the Miami Marlins.

In his nine other starts this season, though, Falter has been very good, pitching at lest five innings in each start while allowing three runs or less (and accumulating 1.7 bWAR along the way). He gets a favorable matchup on Wednesday against a Cardinals offense that just doesn't hit the ball hard on a consistent basis.

In his first season with the Cardinals, Sonny Gray has been very good, but has been roughed up a bit in four of his last six. After allowing just there earned runs in his first five starts of the season, Gray has allowed 19 earned runs, posting a 5.46 ERA in that time span. In his last two starts against the Phillies and Rockies, he allowed four earned runs and three earned runs in 5.0 innings and 4.2 innings respectively.

THURSDAY: Mitch Keller vs Lance Lynn

There are not many pitchers in baseball that are as hot as Mitch Keller is right now. The right-hander, who received a five-year, $77 million extension this spring, has been outright dominant since the beginning of May, posting a 1.13 ERA in six starts and 39.2 innings pitched. The Pirates have won each of those six starts. Additionally, in that time span, he has 35 strikeouts to just seven walks and has allowed one home run.

Lance Lynn is back in the National League Central with the Cardinals. The 37-year old right-hander has been pitching solid throughout his first 13 starts, with a 3.58 ERA and 3.99 FIP in 65.1 innings pitched. After a really strong April, posting a 2.64 ERA in six starts, he has come back down to Earth a bit, with a 4.41 ERA in his last seven games (though his FIP is still a solid 3.32 in that stretch).

Overall, he's done a solid job of limiting the long ball, something that plagued him last season when he allowed a major league-leading 44 home runs in 32 starts. Over the weekend in Colorado, he was hit around a bit, allowing four earned runs on six hits and two walks in four innings of work.