Pirates Vs. Cardinals: Pittsburgh In Tight NL Central Race

DENVER, CO - APRIL 29: Starting pitcher Kevin Correia #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 29, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Correia earned the win as the Pirates defeated the Rockies 3-0. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Pirates head to St. Louis for three games against the Cardinals in a series that will have a large impact on the NL Central play.

With two consecutive victories over their in-state rival Philadelphia Phillies, the Pirates passed the Cardinals in the NL Central standings and closed the division lead for the Reds down to just one game. A three-game weekend series against the Cardinals will greatly influence the standings in the division heading in to the All-Star break.

Starting game one of the series for the Pirates will be Kevin Correia, in his 15th start of the season. With a 4.03 ERA, Correia has managed to do relatively well at holding off opposing batters, although he has had a recent tendency to give up home runs. In his last 10 starts, Correia has given up 12 home runs with at least one in eight of the 10 games, including his last start in which he gave up only two earned runs. His inability to strike batters out also doesn't bode well.

His opponent for Friday's game, Adam Wainwright, has given up just one home runs in his last 10 starts despite his 4.32 ERA. In his last start, Wainwright earned his sixth win of the season with a seven-inning effort in which he allowed six hits and two earned runs.

The first pitch at Busch Stadium is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET and will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest and ROOT Sports.

Read more about the Pirates at Bucs Dugout and check out Viva El Birdos for more on the Cardinals. Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis around Major League Baseball. Also subscribe to the SB Nation Youtube channel for video commentary.

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