National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, August 18th
(All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Pirates (66-53) at St. Louis Cardinals (64-55), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Erik Bedard (7-12, 4.56)
St. Louis - Lance Lynn (13-5, 3.65)
(Sports Network) - Veteran lefty Erik Bedard aims for a third straight win in
a big spot today when the Pittsburgh Pirates visit St. Louis for the second of
three weekend games with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The Pirates broke on top of the series with a 2-1 win Friday and maintained
their position in the National League's playoff chase, which has them two
games ahead of the Cardinals for the second of two available Wild Card playoff
Atlanta holds the No. 1 spot and has a four-game lead over Pittsburgh, which
also leads the Los Angeles Dodgers by 1 1/2 games and Arizona by six for the
No. 2 position.
The Pirates and Cardinals are pursuing the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central.
The Reds won Friday to maintain a six-game edge on Pittsburgh and pushed their
advantage over St. Louis to eight games.
On Friday, Pittsburgh starter James McDonald (11-5) struck out seven and
walked three to earn his first victory since July 18 (five starts). Joel
Hanrahan fired a scoreless ninth to nail down his NL-leading 34th save.
"I just told myself I'm doing this for my teammates and me, just to go out
there and have fun," McDonald said. "Don't worry about what other people say,
just go out there and compete and play the game of baseball. I don't need the
extra distractions to make it harder than what it is."
Travis Snider and Andrew McCutchen each scored a run for the Pirates, who won
their second straight.
Jake Westbrook (12-9) allowed just two runs - one earned - on six hits and
three walks over 7 2/3 frames despite receiving the loss.
Tony Cruz knocked in the lone run for the Cardinals, as they dropped their
Pittsburgh's Bedard, a 33-year-old Canadian, sank to 5-12 on the season after
just 4 1/3 innings of a 14-4 drubbing against the Chicago Cubs on July 30, but
has since bounced back for two straight wins.
He defeated Arizona on Aug. 6 and San Diego six days later while combining to
allow seven hits and five runs across 12 innings and lowering his earned run
average from 4.83 to 4.56.
He's 1-2 lifetime against the Cardinals and last faced them on July 1 in St.
Louis, coming up on the losing end of a 5-4 decision after allowing five runs
on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Bedard is 3-8 in 11 road starts in 2012 with a bloated 6.75 ERA.
The Cardinals counter with 25-year-old righty Lance Lynn, who's seeking a
first win in his fourth August start.
The Indiana native improved to 13-4 this season with a 9-6 defeat of the Cubs
at Wrigley Field on July 27, but is 0-1 in three starts this month while
allowing 19 hits and 10 runs in 17 innings.
He dropped a 7-3 verdict to the Pirates on June 30 in St. Louis after being
touched for six runs on seven hits in five innings.
He's 6-3 in nine home starts this season while allowing a .221 opposition
St. Louis won five of the first nine games between the teams in 2012, but the
Pirates won two of three in the most recent series from June 29-July 1 at
The Cardinals won last year's season series, 9-7, while Pittsburgh last won in
08/18 10:36:43 ET