National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, August 15th
(All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Pirates (71-48) at St. Louis Cardinals (68-51), 1:45 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - A.J. Burnett (5-8, 2.95)
St. Louis - Lance Lynn (13-6, 3.79)
(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals should have catcher Yadier Molina
back in the lineup on Thursday when they close out an important three-game
series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium.
Molina has been out since July 30 with a sprained knee. However, despite
hitting .330 the All-Star backstop was in a 3-for-19 slump when he went on the
"We're going to be careful," St. Louis catcher Mike Matheny said. "You just
have to try to do the right thing."
Molina's return couldn't have come at a better time for the Cardinals, who
were stymied by Francisco Liriano on Wednesday in a 5-1 loss.
Liriano pitched shutout ball into the ninth inning and the Pirates got second
inning homers from Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones to move three games up on
the Cards in the National League Central
St. Louis' offense was dormant for the most part Wednesday thanks to Liriano
(13-5), who bounced back from a brutal performance in Colorado that saw him
surrender 12 hits and 10 runs last Friday.
"He attacked them and stayed aggressive," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
The Pirates broke a season-high tying four-game skid and sent the Cardinals to
their fifth defeat in seven tries.
Shelby Miller (11-8) surrendered eight hits and five runs -- three earned --
over six innings.
Getting the call for the Pirates on Thursday will be righty A.J. Burnett, who
is 5-8 with a 2.95 ERA. Like Liriano, Burnett was hit hard in a loss to
Colorado his last time out, as he surrendered six runs (5 earned) and eight
hits in 5 2/3 innings on Saturday.
Burnett has faced the Cardinals 14 times and is 7-5 against them with a 3.67
St. Louis, meanwhile, will counter with righty Lance Lynn, who is 13-6 with a
3.79 ERA. Lynn lost for the first time in three decisions on Friday against
Chicago, as the Cubs reached him for three runs and three hits in 6 2/3
innings. Lynn also matched a season-high by walking five batters in the
Lynn is 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA in seven starts and two relief appearances against
The Pirates have won eight of 12 contests against St. Louis this season and
had a six-game winning streak in this series broken on Aug. 1.
08/15 10:30:34 ET