SPORTS CHAT PLACE
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals meet in an NL Central division matchup in MLB action from Busch Stadium on Thursday.
The Pittsburgh Pirates come into the 2022 season looking to shake off a frustrating 2021 season that saw the Pirates finish at 61-101, which was helped along by an offense that was dead last in the majors in runs scored, home runs and slugging percentage last season. The batting order for the Pirates still has some promise with the likes of Ke’Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds, Ben Gamel and others while the starting rotation could use some work, headlined by Jose Quintana and JT Brubaker as the 1-2 punch in the rotation. There will be serious growing pains in the Steel City this year, it’s just about managing expectations. JT Brubaker will start here and was 5-13 with a 5.36 ERA and 129 strikeouts last season.
The St. Louis Cardinals will hope to stay the course and build on 2021’s success that saw the Cards finish at 90-72 overall, reaching the postseason. The shocking move for the Cardinals though, was parting ways with Mike Shildt, who led the Cards to three straight playoff appearances as manager, but the front office brass felt that Shildt wasn’t the guy to lead the team to the World Series. The lineup from a batting perspective remains one of the best in the NL in 2022, pretty much staying put across the board. Guys like Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman, Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson and Paul DeJong headline the group while the starting rotation looks really good with the likes of Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Steven Matz, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson rounding out the group. It wouldn’t be a shock to see this St. Louis bunch have success once again and reach the playoffs, once again. Adam Wainwright will start here and was 17-7 with a 3.05 ERA and 174 strikeouts last season.
I get the case to be made either way here as the Pirates are capable of springing an upset and it would make sense on opening day, but the Cards are the better team. I’m not trying to lay this price early on without getting a feel for both sides, so I’m going to side with the over here. I expect regression from Adam Wainwright early on and JT Brubaker really had issues keeping the ball in the park last year which won’t be helped here considering there are heavy winds blowing out to the fence expected in this game. Give me the over here.