Pick #4: PIT/STL NRFI (-165 Fanatics)

Betting on MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals Showdown

As the Pittsburgh Pirates prepare to face off against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday in a crucial NL Central divisional matchup, bettors have an interesting opportunity to consider. With only half a game separating the two teams, this game is set to be a tightly contested battle. A compelling wager for this matchup is betting on no runs being scored in the first inning (NRFI). Here’s a detailed analysis of why this is a strategic choice.

The Pirates, currently holding a 31-34 record and sitting in last place, are eager to gain ground in the division. The Cardinals, with a 31-33 record, are tied with Cincinnati and Chicago for second place, making this game critical for both teams as they vie to stay in postseason contention. This backdrop sets the stage for a high-stakes encounter.

Pittsburgh will start Paul Skenes, a promising pitcher who has impressed in his outings so far. With a 3-0 record, a 3.00 ERA, and 38 strikeouts in 27 innings, Skenes has demonstrated his ability to dominate on the mound. His WHIP of 1.00 and the fact that he has allowed only six runs in his last 17 innings underscore his effectiveness. Skenes’ repertoire includes a 100-mph fastball and a well-mixed array of pitches, making him a formidable opponent for any lineup. His high strikeout rate and ability to control the game from the outset make him a strong candidate for an NRFI bet.

On the other side, the Cardinals will counter with Miles Mikolas, who brings a 4-6 record and a 5.32 ERA into the game. While his overall numbers may not be as impressive as Skenes’, Mikolas has been solid in recent outings, allowing eight runs over 18 innings in his last three starts. His excellent control, evident from issuing only three walks in those games, makes him reliable for a low-scoring start. Mikolas’ consistency in preventing early runs adds to the appeal of an NRFI wager.

Both teams have struggled offensively this season, which further supports the case for a scoreless first inning. The Cardinals rank 18th in team batting average at .235, while the Pirates are 23rd at .231. These underwhelming offensive stats indicate that both teams might find it challenging to score early in the game, especially against pitchers who are currently in good form.

Considering the pitchers’ recent performances and the teams' offensive struggles, the first inning is likely to be a tight affair with limited scoring opportunities. Skenes' dominance and Mikolas' control create a scenario where both teams might find it hard to break through early on.

In conclusion, the matchup between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals presents a strong opportunity for bettors to place an NRFI wager. The combination of Paul Skenes' impressive form, Miles Mikolas' recent consistency, and the teams' offensive difficulties make this a strategic choice. Betting on no runs being scored in the first inning is supported by solid analysis and favorable conditions. Enjoy the game and best of luck with your bets!