Cardinals vs. Pirates prediction and odds for Monday, Aug. 21 (Can Drew Rom win debut?)

The Cardinals' offense should power rookie Drew Rom in his first Major League start.
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46).
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46). / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals are both essentially out of the playoff race, having a 0.1 percent chance of making it, according to ESPN. 

But, there is something key in Monday’s game, as the loser will be in last place in the NL Central division now that the Cardinals have moved to just half a game back of Pittsburgh. 

Bailey Falter (0-7, 4.86 ERA) will look to keep the Pirates in fourth place as he makes his fourth start for the team after beginning the season with the Philadelphia Phillies. Pittsburgh is 2-1 in Falter’s three outings with the team even though he has yet to record a win. 

St. Louis will have Drew Rom on the mound as he gets set to make his Major League debut. Matthew Liberatore was supposed to get the start in this game, but a back injury will have him moved back to Wednesday.

The former fourth-round pick has a 4.82 ERA in Triple-A this season, but a 0.82 ERA in two starts with the Cardinals’ AAA affiliate since being acquired from Baltimore. 

Let’s dive into the odds and a best bet for this matchup: 

Cardinals vs. Pirates odds, run line and total

Cardinals vs. Pirates prediction and pick

Since being traded to Pittsburgh, Falter has thrown 13.1 innings for the Pirates, posting a 4.05 ERA and 5.59 Fielding Independent Pitching. The lefty has struggled to go deep into games, which could mean that we see a lot of the Pirates’ bullpen in this matchup. 

Pittsburgh has a 4.21 bullpen ERA in the 2023 season, which is in the bottom half of the league. 

While that is a concern, it’s also concerning considering that the Cardinals are 14th in OPS in MLB against lefties while the Pirates are just 24th. 

That could give Rom an advantage in his Major League debut. 

The lefty has looked solid in two starts since coming over from the Orioles, but overall he’s been pretty average at the AAA level. The 23-year-old has a 4.75 ERA over 134 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level.

This is a chance for the former fourth-round pick to potentially earn a spot in the rotation, and it’s a great matchup to do so. 

I’ll take a shot on St. Louis’ stronger offense to give Rom some run support on Monday night. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Find Peter Dewey's betting record here.