We kept things on the right track last night with a second straight runline winner at even money, this time with the Chicago Cubs and Jake Arrieta handling their business in a 5-3 win at San Francisco. The Cubs did their damage early, getting all five runs off Moore, including an inside-the-park homerun from Baez in the second inning.
The schedule fills back up tonight after a slower Monday. There are some interleague highlights with the high-scoring Rockies heading to Cleveland to face Corey Kluber and the Indians, as well as the Brewers facing the Twins in Minnesota looking to rebound from last night’s tough 5-4 loss to try and keep pace with the Cubs in the NL Central. And speaking of the NL Central, the Cards look to stay hot after last night’s 11-3 romp in Kansas City. For all St. Louis’s struggles this season, they are only 3 ½ back in the Central…
It should be a good night of baseball. Let’s make it an even better one with a third straight winner.
Today’s MLB Pick:
St. Louis Cardinals -121 at Kansas City Royals +111 (Total: 9)
Michael Wacha (8-4, 3.66 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (13-5, 3.10 ERA)
On paper, Kansas City has a slight edge; better starting pitcher numbers and playing at home where they are 32-26 on the season. But if you look at the last month, the pitching edge is actually tilted very heavily in the Cardinals favor.
Jason Vargas went into July as a fringe Cy Young contender with a 12-3 record and a 2.22 ERA. But since then, the regression to the mean has been a violent one for the 34-year old veteran. He has gone 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA since. Pretty ugly month.
Meanwhile, Wacha took a while to get rolling this season, but he is 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA in his last seven starts and is looking like the guy they depended upon in the postseason several years back. If he can sustain this performance, it could very well be the Cardinals and not the Brewers pushing the Cubs to the finish line.
St. Louis has piled on 24 runs in their last two games, so tonight could be a tough night for Vargas to try to reestablish his strong performance. He hasn’t fared great against St. Louis in his career with an ERA of 4.09, but his last meeting was back in 2014, so I wouldn’t read as much into that stat as I would the fact that he is a struggling pitcher facing a hot lineup with a team throwing a hot starter. Wacha has been on fire for over a month and has good history against the Royals, throwing quality starts in all four chances and posting a 2.42 ERA.
I’ll take the Redbirds to get to Vargas and for Wacha to take care of the rest tonight at Kauffman Stadium.
Today’s MLB Pick: ST. LOUIS CARDINALS TO WIN -121