By Dalton Brown
Last Week: 1-1
Saturday, August 28th, 7:10 PM ET
St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (Steven Brault)
The St. Louis Cardinals currently sit 65-62, 4.5 games behind Cincinnati and 2.5 games behind the San Diego Padres in pursuit of the second Wild Card spot in the National League. As such, they certainly have plenty to play for - and nobody has been putting forth more inspired performances than Adam Wainwright.
Wainwright faced the Pirates in his last outing as well, pitching 8 scintillating innings allowing only 2 hits while striking out 9 batters. It was Waino’s second game pitching 8+ innings without allowing a run in his last 3 starts (both against Pittsburgh), adding to an incredibly impressive 1.70 August ERA. All in all, Adam Wainwright has faced the Pirates 3 times this season - over those starts, he’s gone 3-0 while pitching 23 innings, allowing only 1 run. The Pirates can’t touch him.
He'll be opposed by Steven Brault, who has looked really strong for Pittsburgh through 4 starts after returning from injury despite an 0-2 record. I believe Brault is well worth the fade for a few reasons. For one, his main two pitches (fastball, curveball) are grading out as well below average thus far per Baseball Savant. HIs fastball ranks in the 10th percentile in spin rate and 18th percentile in velocity, while his curveball spins at a rate ranking in the 11th percentile among MLB pitchers. He’s also struggled throughout his career against St. Louis, going 1-4 with a 4.61 ERA over 14 career appearances (8 starts).
Over the first half of Saturday night’s game in Pittsburgh, I don’t think it’ll take more than a run or two from the Cardinals for them to head into the late innings with a lead.
The Pick: Cardinals First 5 Innings -0.5
Sunday, August 29th, 1:05 PM ET
Arizona Diamondbacks (Madison Bumgarner) vs Philadelphia Phillies (Ranger Suarez)
Phillies pitcher Ranger Suarez has been one of the best kept secret breakouts so far this 2021 season. He was converted from a relief pitcher to a starter earlier this season to fit the Phillies needs, and it’s a move that’s worked out incredibly well for both Ranger and the team. He’s not likely to pitch deep into the game, but has gone at least 4.1 innings in three consecutive starts. He struggled a bit in his start at Arizona on August 18 mostly due to an uncharacteristic 4 walks over 4.2 innings of work. Back pitching on his home mound on Sunday, I think he’ll look as good as he has in his other starts (2.11 ERA in August) including his last, a 6.2 inning gem against an excellent Rays lineup. He also hasn’t allowed a home run since July 17, and has only allowed 3 all season.
Arizona will turn to Madison Bumgarner, who continues to churn out innings at a high rate quietly in the desert for the Diamondbacks. Bumgarner faced Philadelphia last week as well, firing 8 really strong innings while only allowing 1 run. Bumgarner has been excellent dating all the way back to the All-Star Break, pitching to a 2.39 ERA and an elite 0.97 WHIP since July 14. Add in Philadelphia missing Rhys Hoskins (.930 OPS vs LHP in 2021) and Sunday sets up for another strong start from Mad Bum.
The Pick: First 5 Innings UNDER 4.5 Runs