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N. L. Central Update: Pirates Showing No Signs of Fading

Jeff Locke

The Pirates are playing like the Pirates who wore these uniforms in the early 1970s

The Pittsburgh Pirates have collapsed after the All-Star Break after getting off to a good start in each of the last two seasons. After another fine start to this season, Pirates fans were worried about it happening again. They can stop worrying now. The Pirates are for real this year.

Pittsburgh is 70-45 with a four game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals and six on the Cincinnati Reds. For them to not make the playoffs, they would have to fall to third in the N. L. Wild Card race which right now is occupied by the Arizona Diamondbacks who are only four games over .500. The Pirates lead them by 10.5 games. So with 47 games left for Pittsburgh and 48 for Arizona, if the D-Backs went 35-13 the rest of the way, the Pirates would only have to go 25-22 to beat them. If Pittsburgh goes 23-24, Arizona would still need to go 34-14 to beat them.

So either Arizona has to get really, really hot or the Pirates would have to really collapse not to make it to the playoffs this season. But Pittsburgh is looking to win the N. L. Central and secure home field advantage throughout the post season. Right now, they are in a battle with the Atlanta Braves for the top spot in the National League. They are trailing the Braves by a half game for the top N. L. record. Atlanta has now won 14 straight games. Both teams should also be watching out for the Los Angeles Dodgers who just cannot seem to be beaten these days. They are 35-8 over their last 43 games.

The Pirates have won seven of their last ten despite dropping last night’s game to the Colorado Rockies 10-1. Pittsburgh will start A. J. Burnett in tonight’s game against the Rockies and Juan Nicasio. Burnett has had a tough season going 5-7 despite a very good ERA of 2.73. Nicasio is 6-6 with a 5.05 ERA.

The Cardinals will try to end their three game losing streak when they face the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. The Cubs won on Friday 3-0 for their first shutout in St Louis in 16 years. Chris Rusin went six innings to get the win and Anthony Rizzo had a two-run single for the Cubbies. The Cardinals have lost 12 of their last 16 games but still lead in the Wild Card chase by two over the Reds and 4.5 over Arizona.

The Reds beat the San Diego Padres 7-2 on Friday to gain a game on both the Pirates and Cardinals. They now trail the Cards by two games for the top spot in the Wild Card which would mean they would host the National League Wild Card Game if they can pass them. Right now, the game would be between the Reds and Cards in St. Louis.

Tony Cingrani will bring his 5-1 record to the mound today to face Tyson Ross and the Padres. Ross is 2-5 despite having a 2.91 ERA.

Bovada has odds on these games and others:

Padres at Reds– Padres are +1.5 -125 and Reds are -1.5 -105 ATS. Moneyline is Padres +170 and Reds -200. O/U is 8 with both -115. We like the Padres +170 and the over in this one.

Cubs at Cardinals– Cubs are +1.5 -125 and Cardinals are -1.5 -105 ATS. Moneyline is Cubs +185 and Cards -225. O/U is 7.5 with both -115. Not sure why the Cards are getting so much love after dropping 12 of 16. We like the Cubs +185 and the over.

Pirates at Rockies– Pirates are -1.5 +110 and the Rockies are +1.5 -140 ATS. Moneyline has Pittsburgh -145 and Colorado +125. There is no O/U line on this game as of yet. We like the Pirates -145.

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