National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, August 27th
(All times Eastern)
St. Louis Cardinals (70-57) at Pittsburgh Pirates (68-59), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Kyle Lohse (13-2, 2.61)
Pittsburgh - A.J. Burnett (15-4, 3.63)
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Pirates were hoping that last weekend's
marathon win over the St. Louis Cardinals would provide a spark on the way to
their first playoff appearance since 1992.
Instead, the Pirates have struggled since the 19-inning victory and hope to
get right on Monday against those same Cardinals in the opener of a three-game
Pittsburgh has lost five of six since taking the rubber match over St. Louis,
getting swept in three games by the San Diego Padres before dropping two of
three to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates were blanked in Sunday's rubber
match, falling 7-0.
The Pirates now sit two games back of the Cardinals for the second wild card
spot in the NL.
Erik Bedard was charged with six runs over 4 2/3 innings to take the loss on
"I made some good pitches early, and then they started hitting the ball
around," Bedard said.
Things won't get easier for the Pirates in this opener as they go up against
Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse, who is 13-2 through 26 starts and is second
in the league with a 2.61 earned run average. He hasn't lost since June 15 and
won his seventh decision in a row on Wednesday versus the Houston Astros.
Lohse limited the Astros to three hits over seven innings, though two were
solo homers in a 4-2 win. However, the 33-year-old did not walk a batter and
allowed two runs or fewer for the 11th time over his 12-start unbeaten streak.
"I felt real solid mechanically," Lohse said. "I felt like I was hitting my
spot, changing speeds, doing things I needed to be successful."
Lohse has been solid over his career versus the Pirates, going 8-2 with a 3.41
ERA. That includes a win in his lone outing against them this year as he
scattered a run and six hits over seven innings on April 22.
The Cardinals have won six of their last eight to surpass the Pirates in the
wild card race and pulled within six games of first place in the NL Central by
knocking off the current leaders, the Cincinnati Reds, on Sunday.
Matt Holliday and Allen Craig combined for seven RBI in the 8-2 win, with
Holliday driving in four while finishing a homer shy of the cycle. Craig,
meanwhile, had a two-run homer and an RBI single.
"He's got that knack of getting the big hit," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny
said of Craig.
St. Louis leads the Los Angeles Dodgers by 1 1/2 games for the NL's final
playoff spot and square off on Monday against the Pirates' A.J. Burnett, who
is 15-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 23 starts this season. That includes a pair of
polar opposite starts against the Cardinals.
Burnett made his Pirates debut on April 21 with seven scoreless innings of
three-hit ball, but the righty was pounded for 12 runs on 12 hits over 2 2/3
innings of a loss two starts later. That leaves him 5-4 lifetime in his
matchup with a 4.29 ERA.
The 35-year-old is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA over his last three starts overall,
yielding 14 runs over 18 2/3 frames. He did not factor into a 7-5 loss to the
San Diego Padres on Tuesday, matching a season worst with 12 hits and walking
a season-high five batters while yielding four runs with seven strikeouts over
6 1/3 innings.
The Pirates and Cardinals have split 12 meetings this season.
08/27 10:33:01 ET