The St. Louis Cardinals blasted the San Francisco Giants by a score of 9-4 for their third win in a row and fourth win in five games. The Cardinals are looking for a strung push to close out the first-half of the season. it’s a wide-open NL Central, so they are in the thick of things with an average record of 44-42. That’s all it takes to be 1.5 games out of 1st place in the division.
They certainly don’t deserve to be that close to winning a division with that record, but nobody else wants to step up. With a win for the Brewers last night, they jumped into 1st with a record of 47-42. That gives them only a half game cushion on the Cubs. The Reds and Pirates both slipped to four games back.
For the sake of competitiveness, I hope things stay like this until October. Maybe teams can start playing better in the NL Central, but a close division will be entertaining. The Cards have as good a chance as everyone else to win it, but they might have to turn to the market to initiate a trade for their offense.
The Brewers have Christian Yelich and the Cubs have a host of talent to bring to the plate. Paul Goldschmidt was supposed to fill that void for the Cards in their lineup, but hitting .251 puts him at risk of posting his worst season in the major leagues when it comes to his batting average.
Marcell Ozuna is absent with an injury, so that hurts, and he’s been hitting just .259 as well. The Giants’ offense has been thin this season in the talent department. At 39-48, the only place they’re going to is the phones to attract teams to work out deals. The Giants certainly won’t be buying, and one of the guys up for sale looks like Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner has done a lot for this franchise since 2009, but it’s time to move on. He deserves to go to a contender at this stage in his career; he’s earned that right. Bumgarner will get the start this evening, while Miles Mikolas will go for the Cards. Head below for our free Cardinals vs. Giants pick and review.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. S.F. Giants Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Madison Bumgarner hasn’t been his elite self this season. It could be he is just getting tired of playing on a losing team. A trade to a contender might be able to change him around. He could suddenly have that competitive drive that made him so dangerous during the Giants’ postseason runs. When he was locked in and focused, nobody was getting to him.
That hasn’t been the case this season, as his ERA has fallen to 4.02, which puts him in danger of setting a career-low. In his last three outings, Bumgarner has posted an ERA of 4.86 and 1.26 WHIP. Certainly not usual for him, though he was sharp in his most recent appearance, holding the Diamondbacks to 4 hits and 1-run.
He has struggled against the Cardinals in the past. Even when he has been an elite pitcher, his numbers haven’t been too great against this roster. The Cards are hitting .296 with a .362 OBP in 196 at-bats against him. Additionally, they’ve connected for 8 home runs and 25 runs. Goldschmidt has been at his best against Bumgarner, with a .333 average and 3 home runs in 66 at-bats.
Miles Mikolas has been productive for the Cards, especially recently in his previous three outings. Mikolas owns an ERA of 2.12 in his previous 17 innings pitched. The Giants have not been good against him as well, hitting just .208 in 24 at-bats. Brandon Crawford is the only batter to have hit a long ball. The oddsmakers continue to overvalue Bumgarner this season and this looks like another spot. The Cardinals look like a solid play in San Francisco here at this price.