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Cardinals vs. Pirates Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Wainwright, St. Louis On Friday (May 20)

Cardinals vs. Pirates Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Wainwright, St. Louis On Friday (May 20) article feature image
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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images. Pictured: St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright #50.

  • The Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh to open a weekend series against the Pirates on Friday.
  • Adam Wainwright gets the ball for St. Louis -- and our analyst is expecting a vintage performance.
  • MLB betting analyst Doug Ziefel breaks down the game and shares his best bet based on Pirates-Cardinals odds below.

Cardinals vs. Pirates Odds

Cardinals Odds -150
Pirates Odds +130
Over/Under 8
Time 6:35 p.m. ET
TV Apple TV+
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Cardinals arrive in Pittsburgh after dropping a four-game series to the New York Mets and are now 4-6 over their past 10 games. However, the Cardinals have just the guy to help stop the bleeding as Uncle Charlie, aka Adam Wainwright, will get the ball.

The 40-year-old Wainwright has posted a 3.15 ERA through seven starts. Although, the story is not the same for the Pirates’ Zach Thompson.

Thompson has looked much better in his past two starts, though they each came against the Cincinnati Reds. It’s safe to say the Cardinals’ lineup will be a step up in competition as St. Louis has been a top 10 offensive club to this point.

Can Wainwright be the reliable stopper that his club needs? Or will the pesky Pirates find a way to steal the series opener?

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Goldschmidt to Lead Cards’ Resurgence

The Mets’ pitching staff may have held the Cardinals in check for the bulk of the series, but they couldn’t get Paul Goldschmidt out. The veteran first basemen is hitting .317 with six homers and 27 RBIs.

While Goldschmidt may be hot, he’s certainly not the only threat in this lineup. Star third baseman Nolan Arenado is hitting .306, Tommy Edman is hitting .295 and red-hot rookie Juan Yepez is hitting .342 through his first 13 career games.

After being outscored 24-15 in New York, the Cardinals are poised to open up against Thompson. However, Thompson has limited hard contact this year as only one of his pitches has an average exit velocity over 90 mph.

Thompson’s struggles has come from his command, or lack thereof. Among qualified pitchers, Thompson ranks among the bottom third of the league in walk rate. The free passes get him in trouble quickly and the command issues compound when he falls behind hitters.

St. Louis is a disciplined club that is in the middle of the pack in walk rate, but also has the lowest strikeout rate of any team. The Cardinals will make Thompson work and punish the mistakes he makes over the plate.

Pirates’ Historic Struggles to Continue

Adam Wainwright’s long tenure with the Cardinals has given him plenty of opportunities to face the Pirates. Over that large sample size, he has dominated the Buccos. In 101 plate appearances, the Pirates lineup is hitting just .112 with a 35.6 strikeout rate against Wainwright.

The outlook for them to change those trends is rather bleak. Pittsburgh is 24th in team batting average and has the sixth-highest strikeout rate.

What makes Wainwright so tough to hit? His movement. His arsenal has developed with age as he is much more reliant on producing soft contact than swings and misses. Nothing Wainwright throws is straight anymore. He utilizes his cutter and sinker to both righties and lefties while keeping his curveball in his back pocket.

That curveball has been Wainwright’s calling card since he came up and it is still one of the best around. His curve’s spin rate is in the top 30% of all qualified curves. I’m sure the young Pirates hitters will be sick of it by the end of this game despite it not being his primary pitch this year.

Cardinals-Pirates Pick

Pittsburgh is caching the Cardinals at the wrong time. The St. Louis lineup is bound to bust out in a big way as the meat of the order has racked up hits, but hasn’t seen it translate to the scoreboard.

The Cardinals should give Wainwright plenty of early run support and he will give the Pirates fits at the plate once again.

I’m taking the Cardinals moneyline here, but the spread also deserves a little sprinkle at plus money.

Pick: Cardinals -150

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