Cardinals vs. Reds Pick MLB – August 4th

My upset bid came up a run short, but the safety wager landed  safely UNDER the 7.5 run threshold as the Marlins and Jacob Turner fell 4-3 to Cleveland.  It’s a good sign for Fish fans (all 400 of you) that these days even in losses they are putting a pretty good effort on the field.  Losing is no fun, but at least there is the sense of better days ahead in Miami.

Meanwhile, what the heck is going on in Cincinnati?  The Cardinals scored six runs in six games last week before pasting Pittsburgh 13-0 on their way out of town.  Then they put up 13 runs in the series opener in Cincinnati before getting beat 8-3 last night.  If you are keeping score at home, that is 27 runs in two games so far in this series with a nice warm weather matinee on deck for this afternoon.  So are we in store for even more fireworks?  Let’s take a look at this pivotal Central Division rubber game for today’s free pick.

St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds (Total: 8.5)

Lance Lynn (12-5, 3.87 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (10-4, 2.59 ERA)

Quick reminder – this game is a 1:10 EST first pitch.  I usually cover the Sunday Night ESPN game, but I just didn’t have a real comfortable feeling with the Braves throwing the inexperienced Alex Wood against a scuffling but potentially dominant Cliff Lee.  I know the Braves are on an eight game winning streak, but at -130 and facing Cliff Lee, I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger on that game.  If you have a good read on it, more power to you and good luck tonight.

Instead, let’s focus on the rubber match in the Queen City.  As I alluded to in the opening, this has been a series with a ton of runs as the teams have traded blowouts in the first two games.  Today, the Reds hand the ball to their starter who VERY quietly has put up the best stats on the staff.  Cueto has been off and on the DL, but had some rough starts sprinkled in, and mat Latos gets the most attention (along with Homer Bailey and his no-no), but it has been Mike Leake who has anchored this staff.  He enters today’s game with the sixth lowest ERA in the National League.

The Cardinals will counter with Lance Lynn, who is tied for third in the NL with 12 wins, but has an ERA near four.  He has been good in his last three starts, logging 18 innings at a 3.00 ERA and notching three quality starts.

Cincinnati is known for their small ballpark and ability to put some runs on the board, but it has been their pitching, both starting and the pen, that have gotten them in the playoff hunt.  The UNDER is 6-1-1 in their last eight games.  I like Mike Leake to do his part to ensure a seventh low scoring affair.

Free Picks:  Run TOTAL UNDER 8.5