MLB Baseball: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Preview, Prediction & Odds - Aug. 29, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 1:05 p.m. ET
Venue: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA
Where to watch: Bally Sports Midwest, AT&T SportsNet-PIT

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Cardinals -190, Pirates +160
FanDuel: NL

Season record (entering Saturday)
Cardinals: 65-62 (3rd place, NL Central)
Pirates: 47-82 (Last place, NL Central)

Jack Banks went 4-0 the last two nights and is 13-4 in his last 17 MLB plays. Jack is involved in one game on Saturday, his MLB Bank Job Game of the Month. Jack has nailed over 63 percent of his Game of the Month releases over the last 2 years. Check out Jack and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Cardinals - Pirates preview and analysis

Recent form (entering Saturday)
Cardinals: 4-6 in last 10
Pirates: 5-5 in last 10

The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates will wrap up their four-game series on Sunday in a matinee matchup at PNC Park.

Remember the days when this used to be the game between the top teams in the National League Central? The Cardinals were the scrappy champions trying to dominate with Albert Pujols, and the Pirates were the up-and-comers that showed so much promise and seemed prime for a breakthrough.

That’s not the case this year with both teams vying to miss the playoffs, mostly surprising from the red birds in St. Louis. It’s not completely out of the realm for St. Louis to miss out on the postseason for the fourth time in six years, but they trail the Cincinnati Reds by 4.5 games for the second wild card spot, and their division brethren don’t appear to want to loosen that grip any time soon.

The Cardinals are coming off a 4-3 victory Friday night, bouncing back from the 11-7 decision in the series opener Thursday night. Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-4, and Tommy Edman drove in three of those runs, including a two-run home run in the fifth inning to get the scoring underway. J.A. Happ made it through 5.2 innings while giving up two runs, walking three, and striking out four. Entering Saturday, St. Louis is 3-4 in its last seven and 4-6 since a six-game winning streak.

Kwang Hyun Kim is expected to take the mound for the Cardinals in the series finale. The left-hander is 6-6 with a very solid 3.27 ERA through 19 starts. His last win came July 22 against the Chicago Cubs in Busch Stadium, where he had seven strikeouts through six innings.

The Pirates have shown to play teams tough despite their losing record. A couple of weeks ago, while getting swept at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh lost 2-1 and 4-3 in those games; just days prior, they beat the Milwaukee Brewers 14-4 and lost the series finale 2-1. It’s just those bullpen issues at the end that have plagued them (pitching as a whole is the myriad of the problem, but one at a time).

Pittsburgh got a 3-for-4 day from catcher Jacob Stallings, as the Pirates mustered only three runs on eight hits. Good news: They got five solid innings from Dillon Peters despite giving up three runs.

If you’re a Pirates fan, the only thing to be mad about is you won’t get the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. You can thank the Baltimore Orioles for putting together an entire run of vomit-induced baseball.

Wil Crowe will get the start for the Pirates in hopes of also his first win since July. The starter has not won since July 30 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He’s 0-2 in four starts during August and has not finished the fifth inning in any of those outings.


The Pirates have found a way to play the Cardinals close, and I think that will be another instance going into this one. However, in an early matchup, the Cardinals should be able to win this one and get out of Pittsburgh with a decent showing. Cardinals win 6-5.

Betting trends

The Cardinals are 7-1 (+5.4 net games on the money line) when favored between -125 and -175 on the road.

The Pirates are 10-9 (+7.4 net games) when a home underdog of +150 to +200.

Key injuries

Cardinals: SP Jack Flaherty (shoulder, 10-day IL)

Players to watch

Cardinals: Nolan Arenado’s first season with St. Louis hasn’t gone as planned, but there’s still time for a strong finish to the month. The All-Star third baseman is batting .204 with six homers during the month, but has a hit in three of his last four games entering Saturday.

Pirates: Bryan Reynolds has cooled off since his run in July, and you can’t really blame him. His batting average has dipped from .307 to .299 with only three homers this month.

Projected lineup

Tommy Edman (S) 2B
Paul Goldschmidt (R) 1B
Tyler O'Neill (R) LF
Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
Yadier Molina (R) C
Dylan Carlson (S) RF
Edmundo Sosa (R) SS
Harrison Bader (R) CF
Kwang Hyun Kim (L) P

Ben Gamel (L) CF
Ke'Bryan Hayes (R) 3B
Michael Chavis (R) 2B
Colin Moran (L) 1B
Jacob Stallings (R) C
Yoshi Tsutsugo (L) RF
Kevin Newman (R) SS
Anthony Alford (R) LF
Wil Crowe (R) P

Statistical leaders

Batting average: Paul Goldschmidt (.286)
Hits: Paul Goldschmidt (139)
Home runs: Nolen Arenado (26)
RBI: Nolan Arenado (84)
Stolen bases: Tommy Edman (21)
Wins: Adam Wainwright (12)
Saves: Alex Reyes (29)
ERA: Adam Wainwright (3.10)

Batting average: Bryan Reynolds (.299)
Hits: Bryan Reynolds (136)
Home runs: Bryan Reynolds (21)
RBI: Bryan Reynolds (77)
Stolen bases: Gregory Polanco (14)
Wins: JT Brubaker (5)
Saves: Richard Rodriguez (14)

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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