Cardinals vs. Royals MLB Pick – September 23, 2020

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It was a 1-2 night with last night’s free MLB pick as I’ve been unable to right the ship that’s been sinking for the last week or so.

I easily hit a winner between the Marlins and Braves where I had the Braves -1.5 on the run line at +115. I figured the Braves offense was set to mash and the bullpen would shut the Marlins down. Both of those happened, but add in five excellent innings from starter Bryse Wilson and the Braves clobbered the Marlins by an 11-1 count.

That said, that merely dug us out of a hole that took place hours earlier. I had the Phillies -1.5 on the run line over the Nationals with Cy Young candidate Aaron Nola up against a pitcher in Austin Voth who had been struggling for much of the season. Nola wasn’t at his best, but a pair of Nationals errors led directly to runs while Voth pitched the game of his MLB life so far in what was an easy 5-1 Nats win.

It was up to the Rays to get us back into profit land, but they couldn’t do it. I had Tampa on the moneyline at -128, but they couldn’t generate much offense and the Mets chipped away at Rays pitching and took that one by a 5-2 count.

Add it up and the 1-2 night cost us 1.18 units as we continue to look for improved results on tonight’s 15-game schedule!

Season Record: 23-21-1

Units: -0.26

Now let’s check out this free MLB pick featuring the Cardinals vs. Royals in the battle of Missouri!

Cardinals vs. Royals Betting Odds

  • Cardinals (-128)
  • Royals (+118)
  • Cardinals -1.5 (+120)
  • Royals +1.5 (-140)
  • Over 9 (+101)
  • Under 9 (-121)

Cardinals vs. Royals MLB Pick Breakdowns

Starting Pitching

Cardinals

The Cardinals will send right-hander Carlos Martinez to the bump to start this one tonight as he’ll look for improved results in what marks his fifth start of the season.

Martinez was mostly unfit to play until the second week of September, so he is still working out some kinks as he owns a 8.40 ERA on the season to go along with a 6.38 FIP and 5.09 xFIP as well. His 5.17 SIERA doesn’t paint a much prettier picture, either.

You wonder if we should be giving him the benefit of the doubt. After all, here’s a guy that’s turned in a 3.68 ERA or better and was the ace of this staff not long ago. For his career, he’s pitched to a 3.45 ERA/3.53 FIP while limiting home runs at a quality 0.73 HR/9 clip.

Home runs have bitten him so far as he’s posted a 2.40 HR/9 mark this season, but walks have also been an issue with a 4.80 BB/9.

Martinez allowed five runs his last time out, but just one earned as he settled in after a tough first inning before an error led to three unearned runs scoring before he was lifted through 3.2 innings.

We can’t quite be sure of what to expect from Martinez in this one, but it’s doubtful that he gets deep into this one.

Royals

The Royals send veteran southpaw Danny Duffy to the mound for this one coming off some tough outing of his own.

Over his last three starts, Duffy has surrendered six earned runs twice with 5.2 innings of shutout ball over the Indians in between disastrous outings against the White Sox and Brewers. The Brewers victimized Duffy for six earned runs on seven hits including two homers with two walks in just 3.2 innings of work.

After a strong start to the season, Duffy now owns a 5.01 ERA/5.06 FIP and 5.04 xFIP on the season – a trio of numbers that essentially agree that he has not been very good this season. His 4.65 SIERA is more of a believers, but that’s not a great numbers in itself.

Duffy hasn’t allowed much hard contact this season, but he’s still been bitten by the long ball at a huge 1.79 HR/9 clip thanks to a monster 47.9% fly-ball rate. He’s induced ground balls just 30.7% of the time while his line-drive and fly-ball rates combine for 69.3% of the contact off of him.

He’s also struggled at home where he’s worked to a 6.60 ERA/6.51 FIP on the season while allowing the long ball at an unhealthy 2.40 HR/9 clip in a small 15-inning sample.

Offense

Cardinals

The 2020 sample sizes with the Cardinals are smaller than any other team, but they’ve fared well against left-handed pitching this season.

The Cardinals enter this one ranked 13th with a .328 wOBA on the season versus southpaws on the season, but their power has also played up against lefties in the form of a ninth-ranked .187 ISO off them as well.

Given the small sample this season and roughly same roster as last season, it’s worth noting that the numbers versus lefties last year were quite similar as they posted a .322 wOBA and .178 ISO off lefties in 2019, numbers that were roughly of the middle-of-the-pack variety.

After scoring 18 runs in 23 innings between Friday’s double-header and a Saturday game against the Pirates, the Cardinals would be held to just three runs between Sunday and Monday. That said, they came back with five more runs last night, giving them an average of 4.3 runs per game over their last six.

Royals

The Royals’ offense was stymied by left-hander Austin Gomber and the Cardinals’ bullpen last night. The bad news is they are better against lefties and seemingly wasted an opportunity against Gomber and now face a right-hander in this one tonight.

The Royals numbers took a negative turn against lefties last night, and they sit tied for 25th with a .302 wOBA on the season against righties while their .149 ISO against them is tied for 23rd.

While Martinez has endured walk and home run issues so far, the Royals’ lack of power combined with an 8.1% walk rate that is tied for 23rd could let the right-hander off the hook in this one.

It’s been an off-and-on struggle for the Royals of late. They were shut out for the second time in four games last night as well for the third time over their last seven. Over that seven-game span, the team has averaged just 2.3 runs per game.

Bullpen

Cardinals

The Cardinals’ bullpen did a solid job in keeping the Royals quiet while preserving the shutout last night, but to me this is still a bullpen that could regress.

Their ERA improved to 4.09 after last night’s game which is a top-10 number at the moment, but their 4.80 FIP and 4.83 xFIP suggest they should regress as their 4.60 BB/9 rate also isn’t helping matters.

It’s a bullpen that’s benefited from a low .238 BABIP against on the season despite ranking 21st with a 37.7% hard hit rate against on the year as well.

The team did just get closer Giovanny Gallegos back from the IL, giving them a reliever sporting a 2.59 FIP/3.11 xFIP with a 12.00 K/9 back into the back end of that bullpen.

In addition to Gallegos, the Cardinals have four relievers that have pitched at least 11.2 innings this season while posting an ERA of 3.09 or better with all four posting excellent peripherals as well.

Royals

The Royals’ bullpen has been a strong point this season as they’ll enter this one ranked eighth with a 3.90 ERA on the season while their 4.24 FIP and 4.42 xFIP are solid as well.

They have allowed a .313 BABIP on the season, however, which is the fifth-highest mark in the league. That doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise as their 41.5% hard hit rate against, as per Statcast, is the second-worst mark in baseball.

Greg Holland, Kyle Zimmer, Josh Staumont and Jesse Hahn have all worked to an ERA of 1.91 or better while all throwing at least 14 innings. Holland, Zimmer and Staumont have all done so while throwing at least 21 frames.

Cardinals vs. Royals MLB Pick

Carlos Martinez has certainly been erratic during a season that was paused with a health issue, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt against a Royals team that’s struggled mightily with righties this season.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, have hit lefties well and bring some power to the table against a pitcher in Duffy who is actually struggling more than Martinez at the moment.

The bullpens aren’t a big factor for me here as both groups have their most-used relief pitchers putting up the best numbers throughout the bullpen, but I believe more in this Cardinals offense than I do the Royals, at least in this scenario.

The Cardinals are also the only team with something to play for here as they’re in a dogfight within the NL Central but also the Wild Card race as they chase down a postseason spot.

It’s a veteran-laden group that can smell a postseason spot, so let’s give the Cardinals the benefit of the doubt on the moneyline tonight.

The Bet
CARDINALS
-128
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.