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Series Preview 4/27-29: Cardinals at Pirates

The Birds & Bucs are set to battle for the first time this season

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
Mikolas will take the mound for the Cardinals on Friday.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In their first of six series this season, the Cardinals are in Pittsburgh for a three-game slate with the Pirates at PNC Park this weekend. The matchup will begin on Friday evening.

The Cardinals are 15-9 and the Pirates are 14-11 as the series commences.

The series opener will be started by Steven Brault and Miles Mikolas, with Brault’s first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM Central time. Brault has pitched in five games for the Pirates - four of them starts, logging 24 13 innings. Batters have hit just .221 off the left-handed Brault, even though his command has been an issue; Brault has issued 12 walks. In limited work against St. Louis, Dexter Fowler has had the most success. Fowler is 2-for-5 with a double.

Mikolas has pitched well for the Cardinals and will look to cap off his first month with the team on a high note. Facing the Reds in his last two outings, Mikolas went seven innings and allowed one run in each of the games, totaling 10 strikeouts. In his four starts, Mikolas has walked two batters and allowed four home runs. Like Brault with the Cardinals, the Pirates have only had a very small dose of Mikolas. Sean Rodriguez leads the small-sample-sized party with a home run in three at-bats.

Saturday’s ballgame will be started by Trevor Williams and Jack Flaherty. Williams has been the Pirates’ best starting pitcher so far, maintaining a 2.15 ERA across five starts. In four of the five starts, Williams has logged six innings; those same four outings were quality starts. In his career against the St. Louis lineup, Williams has had trouble with Yadier Molina. Molina has three doubles in 11 career at-bats facing Williams.

Flaherty is starting in Adam Wainwright’s spot of the rotation. Wainwright was placed on the disabled list on April 22 with right elbow inflammation. Flaherty made one start for the Cardinals this year - while Wainwright was recovering from a late-Spring hamstring strain - and twirled five innings of one-run ball against the Brewers. In three starts at Memphis since he was sent to Triple-A, Flaherty is 3-0 with 22 strikeouts in 20 innings with a 2.25 ERA.

The finale of the three-game series is set for Sunday at 12:35 PM Central time. Luke Weaver will take the mound for the Cardinals. Weaver has struggled over his past couple starts, which have totalled 8 23 innings. In 4 23 frames against the Mets on April 24, Weaver allowed four runs. Subpar command is what has impacted Weaver, who walked six batters in his start against the Mets. Josh Bell and Jordy Mercer have two base hits apiece, while Weaver has held Gregory Polanco in check: 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Pittsburgh has not publicly annouced a starting pitcher for Sunday’s matinee. Tyler Glasnow is, perhaps, the leading option to make the spot start, as he is on the 25-man roster as it is. Nick Kingham may be the team’s best out-of-town option; Kingham is currently playing at Triple-A Indianapolis.