The National League Central series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates continues on Saturday in St. Louis.
The Pirates will hope for a better outing from Roansy Contreas, who got shelled in his last outing against the Astros, against the Cardinals, who will counter with floundering left hander Steven Matz.
The Cards are off to a slow start while the Pirates are one of the pleasant surprises of the first two weeks of the season, will that trend continue on Saturday? Here are the odds and our best bet:
Pirates vs. Cardinals odds, run line and total
Pirates vs. Cardinals prediction and pick
Contreras' numbers look inflated after he couldn't get out of the fourth inning against Houston earlier this week, allowing seven earned runs while walking more batters than striking out. While he may have his hands full against a Cardinals lineup that is hitting .273 as a unit and is top five in wRC+, this is more of a fade on Matz.
The Cardinals left hander has struggled since arriving to St. Louis, posting a 5.25 ERA in 10 starts last season and it's been even worse through two starts, an 8.18 ERA in two starts (10 earned runs in 11 innings).
The Pirates have fared well against southpaws so far, hitting .253 (17th best in baseball) and slugging .403 (15th). Considering Matz can't avoid barrels this season and the Pirates are comfortable against those pitchers, I believe they can plate enough runs to be competitive, even if Contreras doesn't have his best stuff.
I also see little to no difference between each team's relievers, the Pirates are ninth in bullpen ERA and the Cardinals are 11th, so this game checks out more like a coin flip than a lopsided Cardinals projection.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.