Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals – MLB July 21

8:15 p.m. ET – Cubs at Cardinals (-130 ML) O/U: 8

The 47-48 Cubs take on the 47-48 Cardinals in game three of a four-game series on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium. Chicago won two of three in Arizona this past weekend, picking on the National League’s worst ball club. St. Louis took two of three from San Francisco last weekend, holding them to just four runs in the four-game series. The first game of this series went to the Cardinals, 8-3, but the Cubs retaliated with a 7-6 win on Tuesday night. Chicago trailed 6-1 entering the top of the ninth, before scoring six runs to take the lead, capped off by a two-RBI double from Ian Happ.

It marked the first blown save of the season for Cardinals closer Alex Reyes, as well as the first game since 1979 in which the Cubs scored six or more runs to come back in the ninth and win without needing extra innings.

About the Cubs

Chicago Cubs LogoChicago currently resides in a tie for third place in the National League Central, 8.5 games behind the first place Brewers. The Cubs are surrounded by question marks as the trade deadline approaches and at the center of it all is star utility player Kris Bryant, who left Tuesday night’s contest with a hamstring injury.

He is not likely to play on Wednesday as the front office will want to keep their top asset at 100 percent as we inch toward the deadline. The first player Chicago parted ways with was starting center fielder Joc Pederson, who was dealt to Atlanta over the All-Star break. As for those suiting up tonight, starting shortstop Javier Baez leads the team with 21 home runs and 61 RBI. Baez’s contract also runs out at the end of the season and it is unclear whether his camp and the Cubs ownership has made any progress in regards to an extension. One player who is likely to stay with the team through the trade deadline is National League Rookie of the Year candidate Patrick Wisdom, who is batting .276 with 14 home runs in just 134 at-bats this season. The 28-year-old was a second-round pick in 2012, but has finally clawed his way up to the big leagues and has made it known that he intends to stay there.

The pitching staff has been solid on paper this season, but the starting rotation has a steep dropoff after Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies and Adbert Alozay. Chicago’s once-promising season has completely gone off the rails and this team could look completely different just one week from now.

About the Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals LogoSt. Louis currently sits in a tie for third place in the National League Central, 8.5 games behind the first-place Brewers. The Cardinals score the fifth-fewest runs per game in Major League Baseball, scoring just four runs per game this season. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has come alive over the past few weeks at the plate.

Goldschmidt has been hitting .393 with five home runs and 13 RBI in his last 15 games. St. Louis’ lone All-Star position player was third baseman Nolan Arenado, but Arenado has struggled over the past month, batting just .198 in his last 30 games. The pitching staff has done a great job staying afloat with a team ERA of 4.22, especially considering the fact that six key pitchers are currently on the Cardinals’ injured list. Ace Jack Flaherty is one of those pitchers, who has missed a large part of the season with an oblique injury. His loss has proven to be problematic.

There are few arms in the starting rotation that can go deep into ballgames and it has proved taxing on the bullpen as of late. St. Louis does not appear to be a seller at the trade deadline like its rivals, but the Cardinals front office is also unlikely to try and add with the current state of the team.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Chicago Cubs +1½ (-195) +110 O 8 (-110)
St. Louis Cardinals -1½ (+165) -130 U 8 (-110)

The Pitching Matchup

Right-hander Hendricks will be toeing the rubber for Chicago on Wednesday night. Hendricks is 12-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 111 innings across 19 starts this season. He allowed just one run in six innings of work in his last outing against the Diamondbacks.

St. Louis will be turning to veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright in this matchup. Wainwright is 7-6 with a 3.71 ERA in 111.2 innings of work across 18 starts in 2021. He allowed four runs in six innings of his last start against the Giants.

What’s the Bet?
It is rare that we see these two teams meet in the second half of the season with neither team in the playoff picture. The last season that neither the Cubs or Cardinals made the postseason was in 2010. Wednesday night features a matchup between the team’s two best starters. Either of these teams are healthy at the moment, and there is value on St. Louis to win the first five innings. Hendricks is likely to provide a solid start in which he allows two or three runs, but the bet is more of a fade of the Chicago lineup.

Wainwright has struggled in his career against Kris Bryant, but with Bryant likely sidelined tonight, he should have his way with the depleted Cubs lineup. As was displayed last night, St. Louis is at a disadvantage if the game becomes a bullpen contest, but a First Five bet takes the bullpens out of the equation. Expect a lot of weak contact from Chicago against Wainwright to go with plenty of strikeouts.

The best bet for the third game of this series is for the Cardinals to win the first five innings at -120.
The Pick
Cardinals First Five Innings Moneyline

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie

Sub Categories:
Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.