Sometimes you take a game, and it works out almost exactly as you thought it would, and you still lose. That is what happened last night when I took the Arizona Diamondbacks at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. I expected Patrick Corbin to continue his dominance at home, and he did. Corbin pitched six innings and allowed just three hits and one run and looked to have the win all locked up as the DBacks held a slim 2-1 lead heading into the eighth inning. Then disaster struck, and the Dodgers exploded for four runs in the eighth inning to steal the game. It was a tough way to lose as we led the entire afternoon long, but what can you do, even the best bullpens are going to occasionally blow a game or two, so we will shake it off and move on to the next one. For today’s pick, I will look at the game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals.
A rivalry is renewed Friday as the Chicago Cubs travel to St. Louis to play the Cardinals in game one of a three-game weekend series. There is rarely much love lost between these two squads, and this series promises to be a great one. The Cubs are winning a lot of games right now, they had won nine out of their last eleven games, before dropping their last two games to the Colorado Rockies. The Cardinals are playing equally as well as they have won three out of their last four series.
Your starting pitching matchup today features Jose Quintana (3-1 5.74 ERA) for the Cubs and Miles Mikolas (3-1 3.27 ERA) for the Cardinals. This game is an even pick ‘em as both teams are -110. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St Louis.
The National League Central might be the best top to bottom division is all of baseball. The American League East is formidable with the Yankees, Red Sox, and the Blue Jays all looking good and the AL West looks solid too with the Astros, Angels, and Mariners all winning a bunch of games. But it is the NL Central that is the only division that has four teams with a winning record at this point in the season. This is going to be a tight race all season long, and as is usually the case, the Cubs and Cardinals are right there in the mix.
The Cubs are managing to win games, but they are really struggling at the plate. The stats will tell you that the Cubbies are 16th in the big leagues in runs scored, middle of the pack, nothing to be alarmed by, right? But when you look at how they score those runs, it has been very inconsistent. The Cubs have had a couple very high scoring games this year that have skewed their stats. Chicago has had games of ten runs twice, sixteen runs, fourteen runs, and thirteen runs. Chicago hasn’t scored more than three runs in their last eight games. It is boom or bust in Chicago this season.
Another guy that has been very hot and cold this year is the Cubs starter tonight, Jose Quintana. In his two starts against the Milwaukee Brewers this year, Quintana has pitched thirteen innings and has given up zero earned runs. In his other three starts? He has pitched thirteen and two-thirds of an inning and has given up seventeen earned runs. It is hard to know when Quintana is going to be on his game, and that makes him very hard to bet on, or against.
One guy that has been the model of consistency has been Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas. The last three starts for Mikolas look basically identical. Seven innings of work and two earned runs or less. Mikolas is undefeated on the season and has pitched well enough to win in each of his five starts this year. He would love to be able to beat the hated rival Cubs tonight in front of his hometown fans.
This is a great game. Both of these teams have similar records, and both will be playing hard tonight. But I just don’t trust Jose Quintana or these Cubs bats tonight. When you look at how these teams have been playing this year, the Cubs are either going to find some way not to score and still sneak out with a win in a close game, or they are going to lose big. Quintana will be great, or terrible. There isn’t a lot of middle ground here. So, I will take the much more consistent home team in this one.
St. Louis knows they can ill afford to drop a series to a division rival at home and I expect them to pull out all the stops tonight. Mikolas should be able to keep these noodle bats in the Chicago lineup at bay, and I see the Cardinals winning tonight.
Give me the St. Louis Cardinals at -110 tonight at home!