Wed 11/02/2015 - 11:38 EST

Cardinals and Pirates Battle for Positioning in NL Central Race

Cardinals need John Lackey to regain form of yesteryear

Lackey came over to the Cardinals from the Red Sox prior to the trade deadline and he has not performed like the Cardinals had hoped he would. He is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA since joining St. Louis’ rotation, but there is still time left for him to rebound into the pitcher he once was. He has made four starts since coming to St. Louis and has allowed 15 earned runs in 25 innings pitched.

Pirates hoping Francisco Liriano improves down the stretch

Liriano is just 3-10 with a 4.18 ERA this season for the Pirates. The lefty has not pitched as well as he did last year and the Pirates are five games out of first in the Central. He was 3-0 against the Cardinals last season and was nearly unbeatable at home last year. He allowed just 12 runs all season when pitching at home last year, but he gave up nine in his most recent home start this year. He needs to pitch much better down the stretch if the Pirates want to make the playoffs.

On Monday night, the Pirates host the Cardinals for the opener of a three-game series that features two playoff hopefuls. We will place our bet over at Sportsbook.com, where the Cardinals are underdogs on the road. We will drop 10 percent of our bankroll on the Cardinals and the OVER seven total runs scored at -130 as they win the first game of the series.

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