St. Louis Cardinals +112 at Los Angeles Dodgers -119 (Total: 8.5)
Jaime Garcia vs. Joe Blanton
The series is knotted up at a game apiece after two games, with two absolutely pivotal games to play. The Dodgers crept back to a single game out of the wildcard chase and can force a dead-heat (as well as make teams like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Philadelphia exceptionally happy). So will the Dodgers help make Selig and his “second wildcard” idea look like geniuses with a thrilling final two weeks of the season??? Let’s take a look inside the numbers and see…
The Cardinals potent offense hasn’t faltered. They are still scoring runs and hitting as well and better than every team in the National League. They have struggled a bit as late, scratching out a respectable but not outstanding 30 runs in nine games (for an average of 3.3). Not surprisingly, they have lost seven of their last nine, and have been outscored by 17 runs in the process.
The Dodgers haven’t fared much better. They have dropped four of five and also seven of their last nine. It is as if no one in the National League wants to win the wildcard; St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles have been awful for about a month, opening the door for teams like Milwaukee, Philly and even Arizona. The Dodgers about a half-billion dollars to the payroll, and for all those high-priced bats they have scored 25 runs in their last 10 games.
The pitching matchup features two lower end of the rotation starters who have given their teams mixed results this season. Garcia (4.41 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) has a better ERA but worse WHIP than Blanton on the season (4.98 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), but neither are entering with impressive stats. Their last three starts have each been less than stellar as well.
Despite some of their offensive struggles of late, both teams have favorable pitching matchups to break out of their recent doldrums. Also, when these two teams meet, offensive fireworks tend to ensue. At least one of the teams has scored six of more runs in nine of their last ten meetings. That bodes well for eclipsing tonight’s eight and a half run total for the OVER.
The OVER is 9-1 in Garcia’s last ten starts against a team with a winning record. The OVER is 7-2-1 in St. Louis’s last ten meetings in Los Angeles. I like both pitchers to do what they have done so well this season; let people and base and runners cross the plate. I see a nice 7-5, 8-4 type ballgame tonight.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 8.5