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Pirates vs Cardinals Preview and Prediction

Tonight the Pittsburgh Pirates visit the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth and final game of the National League Division Series. The winner moves on to meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship series, while the loser goes home for a long winter break.

The current line has Pittsburgh at 136, while St. Louis is slightly favored at -148. The run total for the over under is on 6.5.

Mike Matheny the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals will send his ace Adam Wainwright to the mound to face Pittsburgh. Wainwright won 19 games during the regular season and Game 1 of this series.

Matheny held back Wainwright from pitching in Game 4 and looked like a genius as Michael Wacha the 22-year old sensation reached the eighth inning with a no-hitter and eventually won 2-1 to force today’s Game 5.

On the other side of the diamond, Pittsburgh’s manager Clint Hurdle has decided to roll the dice with his starting pitcher. Hurdle has bypassed A.J. Burnett loser in Game 1 and chosen Gerrit Cole, the Pirates rookie who won Game 2 with an outstanding performance.

It has been 34 years since the Pirates won a postseason series. They face a tough challenge on the road versus a club that has won 7 of 8 elimination playoff games since 2011.

In Game 2, Cole looked more like the ace of the staff than a rookie who is just 23. He gave up a single run on just two hits over six innings for his fifth straight win overall. During his five straight wins, he has allowed five hits or more just once.

Wainwright dominated Game 1 after receiving a seven-run cushion from his offense. He gave up a single run and just three hits while fanning nine in seven innings of work.

Wainwright has won four consecutive starts and beat Pittsburgh on September 7 allowing only two hits in seven shutout innings.

The Cardinals were 54-27 at Busch Stadium during the regular season, which was the second best home record behind just the Atlanta Braves in baseball.

Andrew McCutchen the centerfielder for Pittsburgh had 12 hits in 28 at bats versus Wainwright in their regular season meetings and had 1 hit in 3 at bats in Game 1.

Second basemen in this series are struggling. Matt Carpenter for St. Louis has just 1 hit in 15 at bats, while Neil Walker for the Pirates has no hits in his 16 at bats.

Walker and Starling Marte, the one and two hitters in the Pittsburgh lineup, have gone a combined 2 for 31 in the first four games of the series. That has made it difficult for the Pirates 3, 4 and 5 hitters to knock in any runs.

Pick: St. Louis 4-2

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