This weekend has been another struggle for the Cardinals, who can't seem to recapture its 2022 magic when it won the NL Central.
The team has dropped the first two of the three game series against the Pirates, but will look to get back on track with the team's best pitcher over the last several weeks Miles Mikolas on the mound while the lineup faces soft-tossing Rich Hill.
The Cards have raked against lefties this season, and are moderate favorites to win and avoid a sweep, will the team cash in?
Here are the odds for Sunday's early first pitch:
Cardinals vs. Pirates odds, run line and total
Cardinals vs. Pirates prediction and pick
The Cards are a top 10 unit at the plate against lefties, hitting .266 as a team and posting an OPS of .782, ninth in the big leagues. This matchup figures to be a strong one for St. Louis against the 43-year-old Hill, who is allowing a ton of hard contact this season (12% home run rate on fly balls, in which opponents hit 68% of the time the ball's in play). Hill has an ERA of 4.76 supported by a 5.33 xERA, so he's been somewhat lucky so far in 2023.
I expect St. Louis to put up runs, and for Mikolas to keep up his run of good form after posting back-to-back shutout outings. After stumbling through his first six starts in which he pitched to a 5.97 ERA, the right hander is looking like the All-Star pitcher he was hoping to be with a 1.89 ERA in the following six.
Mikolas has generated softer contact by locating the strike zone more and working in his off-speed pitches, watching his WHIP dwindle from an alarming 1.705 to 0.0947 over the two timeframes.
The Pirates have been about a league average team from an OPS perspective over the last two weeks, but I give a distinct advantage to Mikolas on the mound and expect the Cards to get one on the board before heading out of Pittsburgh.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.