Sunday, September 20, 2020, PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 4:05 p.m. ET
St. Louis Cardinals Odds
The Cardinals (25-24) are picking the right time to get hot, having won three straight against the woeful Pirates to sit in second place in the National League Central — and thus in playoff position. But they can’t afford to rest, as the Cincinnati Reds are only a game back.More good news comes Sunday in the way of the Cardinals’ starting pitcher. Right-hander Jack Flaherty (3-2, 5.52 ERA) — who has had quite an up-and-down season thus far — is facing the team he has dominated perhaps more than any other in his career. His eight wins against Pittsburgh are his most against any team, while his 1.94 ERA is his lowest against any team he has faced more than four times. His best game this season (seven innings, six hits, two runs on July 24) was also against the Pirates.One bit of potential bad news worth monitoring: catcher Yadier Molina left Saturday’s game after he was hit on the wrist. X-rays were negative, though he will likely receive further examination Sunday.
Pittsburgh Pirates Odds
The best thing the Pirates (15-37) have going for them is that the season is almost over. Owners of the worst record in baseball, the Pirates have lost 11 of 12 and have the second-fewest home wins in the NL with 10. Things haven’t been much better for Sunday’s starter, as righty Joe Musgrove will make his seventh start this season but is still seeking his first win.He also faced Flaherty in that July 24 game and gave up three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings — one of his better starts of the season.The good news for Musgrove (0-5, 5.74) is that he’s pitched his best this month, including back-to-back starts in which he gave up a combined two earned runs over seven innings pitched to start September. If Molina can’t go, that’s a career .429 hitter against Musgrove not in the lineup.
Cardinals at Pirates Betting Pick for September 20, 2020
With the Cardinals perhaps being without Molina, the Pirates desperate for a win and Musgrove pitching better, going with the home team could be tempting in this one. But that’s overthinking it. Flaherty has dominated Pittsburgh throughout his career, and the 2020 Pirates don’t look like they’re ready to break that spell.Cardinals at Pirates Betting Pick, Cardinals (-162), Pirates (+145)Cardinals 8, Pirates 4
Cardinals at Pirates Best Bet for September 20, 2020
The under is tempting here, as well — and may well hit. But Molina isn’t the only Cardinal to hit Musgrove well (Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill are a combined .500 with three home runs against him). If St. Louis’ bats and Flaherty’s arm are dialed in, this could be a runaway.Cardinals at Pirates Best Bet: Cardinals to COVER the MONEYLINE (-1.5, +100)