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Pittsburgh Pirates (0-2) at St. Louis Cardinals (2-0)

We’re off to a nice start to the MLB season. Let’s keep it rolling today in St. Louis!

I’m targeting this matchup because I’m eager to fade Pittsburgh pitcher Bryse Wilson today.

  • The Cardinals’ current roster has a 0.379 AVG / 0.586 SLG slash line in 29 prior Plate Appearances against him.
  • Their success largely stems from a meeting last year, in which Wilson allowed 5 Earned Runs on 8 hits in just 4 innings vs. them.

Wilson is a historically slow starter. His career pitching splits show that he performs worst in April/March vs. other months, as shown below:


OPS stands for On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage. tOPS is calculated as the player’s OPS for a given split divided by his total OPS.

  • For pitchers, a tOPS greater than 100 indicates the player did worse in the split vs. other situations.
  • As you can see above, Wilsons’ tOPS of 149 is significantly higher than all other situations, making him a nice target to fade in the first month of the season.

The past doesn’t always predict future results, but Wilson’s trend appears to be holding this year.

  • In 4 Spring Training starts, Wilson allowed 9 Earned Runs in just 11.2 Innings Pitched.
  • 3 of his 4 starts featured 2+ walks, indicating control issues.
  • This highlights a mismatch today vs. a disciplined Cardinals lineup that already mustered 11 walks in only 2 games this year.

In those 2 games, the Cardinals managed to score an impressive 15 runs. Of the 15 runs, 8 (53%) crossed the plate in the first 5 innings of the game.

All that is to say I’m confident the Cardinals will score runs today, and I think they’ll come early and often.

I also trust Cardinals’ pitcher Steven Matz to hold it down.

  • In 28 plate appearances vs. this Pittsburgh lineup, he has a 32.1% K rate
  • 5 of the 8 batters that faced him whiffed at least once, and 3 of the 8 struck out twice.
  • In total, they’ve only mustered 6 hits in 26 at bats vs. Matz (0.231 AVG)

Steven Matz is new to the Cardinals, and I trust that he’ll be motivated with a ‘something to prove’ mentality in front of his new home fan base today.

The safer play is to back STL to win the First 5 Innings (-145 on FanDuel). To get the odds closer to +100, I parlayed it with Matz to record 4+ Strikeouts, as he did in 22 of his 29 starts (76%) last year.

  • If his elevated K% vs. (32.1%) Pittsburgh holds, my math suggests he should hit this number in just 4 innings of work.
  • If his K% regresses towards his normal range (22.3%), I estimate he should still get at least 4+ Ks in 5 innings of work.
  • Matz pitched 6.2 innings in his last Spring start, which eases any concerns about a pitch count or innings limit today. 

Between Matz’ success vs. the Pirates and Wilson’s struggles vs. the Cardinals, I feel the stars are aligned to back this Same-Game Parlay today at FanDuel!

$FML's MLB Parlay

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STL Cardinals to win the First 5 Innings & Steven Matz 4+ Ks @ +101
Tail $FML Here
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