After taking the first two games of the series, the St. Louis Cardinals look to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates in the series finale tonight on the MLB Network. The Red Birds will send Lance Lynn to the mound with 9 wins, 6 losses, and a 2.76 ERA. The 28 year old right hander is on pace to win 14 games this season and features a 4-seam Fastball that averages out at 93 mph, a 91 mph Sinker, and a Cutter that reaches 87 mph. When Lynn is pitching well he’ll also mix a Curveball, Changeup, and a Slider into his repertoire.

The Pirates will counter with the lefty Francisco Liriano who has 7 wins, 6 losses, and a 3.13 ERA. He throws an 86 mph Slider, a devastating 85 mph Changeup, a 4-seam Fastball that hits 94 mph, and his best pitch is a mix of Sinking a Two-Seam Fastball that averages 93 mph but has a lot of movement on it.

Keys to the Game

  • For Lance Lynn to be good, he’ll have to be able to keep hitters on their feet with Fastball which generates one of the highest number of swings and misses compared to other pitchers. To keep hitters on their feet, look for him to work both sides of the plate.
  • Johnny Peralta is batting .361 in 36 AB‘s against Liriano, look for him to the pitcher Achilles heel in the game today.
  • Randal Grichuk is batting .667 against Liriano, but only in 3 AB’s which isn’t a big enough sample size to see who has the upper hand. With that being said, look for Grichuk to be a wild card in today’s game – he could be the difference maker the Cardinals need.
  • On the Pirates’ side, Starling Marte is has a .381 AVG in 21 AB’s against Lynn, but he did leave last night’s game with “discomfort in his left hand”. If he doesn’t start, he may be able available to pinch hit in a big moment.
  • Neil Walker is batting .351 in 37 AB’s against Lynn with 3 HR, he will most likely been the thorn in Lynn’s side tonight.
  • The Pirates’ Wild Card player tonight is Pedro Alvarez, he doesn’t have an impressive Batting Average against Lynn, but he does have a power bat from the left side and could easily get a hold of one and hit it out of the park tonight.

Belal Ahmed

Spark Sports Baseball Analyst

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