St. Louis Cardinals -135 at Chicago Cubs -125
Adam Wainwright (0-3, 9.81 ERA) vs Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 5.71 ERA)
While it hasn’t been the ideal start to the season for one time twenty-game winner Adam Wainwright, you can bet the Cards are thrilled to see him on the mound and healthy. He has yet to earn a win this season in three attempts, but again; at least he is pitching. He missed the entire season last year with a serious elbow injury. However, in 2009 and 2010, despite being somewhat in the shadow of co-ace Chris Carpenter, Wainwright was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, winning 39 games and finishing as the Cy Young runner-up each year.
Tonight Wainwright will square off against converted reliever (and former Notre Dame standout receiver) Jeff Samardzija, who is seeking his third win in his fourth start. If you just look at wins and losses, it loos like a nice smooth transition from the bullpen, but it has been a little rockier tha the 2-1 indicates. His ERA is hovering over five and a half, with a WHIP over 1.50. He might not have as forgiving a time tonight in Wrigley with the red-hot red birds in the batters box.
Here’s the most telling statistic for me, from a wagering perspective; batters are hitting an insane .310 against him so far this season. Factor in the fact that the Cards have the second best batting average in the national League… and it spells some trouble for the Cubbies.
And one more factor that always makes the Cubs a tough bet when they are not at a distinct pitching advantage – this team is absolutely abominable defensively. Their eight errors over the weekend against Cincinnati could partially be attributed to some windy and cold conditions, but let’s be honest; this is not a new phenomenon in Chicago. Last season they were statistically the worst team in all of baseball. This year their fielding percentagae isn’t dead last, but any Cub fan can tell you – it should be.
It hasn’t been a pretty start, but I like Wainwright to get things into gear tonight and finally notch that start Card fans have been waiting for. The talent is there. His velocity is good. That means his stuff is there, it’s a matter of finding his arm slot and location. No better team to do it against than the rival Cubbies in Chicago. Give me the Cards to win tonight behind Wainwright.
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