Yesterday we took the under eight and a half runs in the Seattle Mariners versus Tampa Bay Rays game. Both offenses had been awful all month long, and both teams had decent pitchers on the mound. Marco Gonzalez, the starter for Seattle, held up his side of the bargain as he tossed a respectable five innings, allowing three earned runs. The problem for us was this normally strong Tampa Bay Rays defense.
The Mariners jumped all over Rays starter Brendan McKay, but to be fair to McKay, the defense was really the culprit. McKay was charged with a whopping four unearned runs on the night, in just two innings of work, and that porous defense saw this game soar quickly to the over. What can you do, it was a seemingly good spot, but we came up short. For today’s pick, we will head to St. Louis where the Cardinals host the Brewers.
The St. Louis Cardinals are looking to make it two straight wins over the Brewers tonight in game two. The Cardinals threw a shutout yesterday in game one, winning 3-0. In that one, Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson worked six and two-thirds of an inning and did not allow a run.
The bullpen finished the rest of the shutout off, and the Cardinals now enjoy a three-game lead over the Brewers for first place in the National League Central Division. St. Louis can’t let up just yet though as the Chicago Cubs are hot on their heels and entering play today, St. Louis holds just a one-game lead over Chicago for first place in the central.
For the Brewers, they have stumbled a bit as of late, and they need to find a way to string some wins together, and soon. Not only do the Brewers trail the Cardinals for the Central Division title, but they are also two and a half games back of three teams for the last wild card in the National League. If the Brewers don’t find a way to turn things around soon, they are going to find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.
Starting for the Brewers is Gio Gonzalez (2-1 3.81 ERA), and for the Cardinals, it is Michael Wacha (6-6 5.44 ERA). The game total over-under is set at ten runs. This game is currently an even pick ‘em with both teams laying -105. First pitch is scheduled for 4:45 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Gio Gonzalez has done a serviceable job of eating inning this year for the Brewers. He hasn’t been elite, and he rarely gets deep into games, but for the most part, he isn’t going to lose a game for you. The Brewers love to turn things over to their bullpen early in the game at the first signs of any distress, so when you look at Gio’s recent game log, he has pitched just thirteen innings in his last three starts combined.
But when you look at how hard this Brewers bullpen got hammered in their last series against the Washington Nationals, you have to wonder if they will be looking for more innings out of Gonzalez tonight. Against Washington, the Brewers got blasted for thirty runs in the series last two games, with a lot of that damage coming against their bullpen. Gio is averaging just under five innings a start this season, and he has pitched six innings or more just once in eleven starts. You can expect to see this overworked Brewers bullpen for several more innings tonight.
Michael Wacha should be better than he is right now. This is his age twenty-eight season, and he should be coming into his prime. Instead, he is struggling through his worst season ever in the big leagues. His 5.44 ERA is the highest he has ever posted and is two full runs higher than the 3.20 ERA he posted last season. But it hasn’t been all bad for Wacha, as his problem isn’t stuff, its consistency.
When you look at how he has pitched against these Brewers this season, it looks like vintage Michael Wacha. In two starts against the Brew Crew this season, he has thrown a combined twelve innings, and allowed just three runs, while striking out fourteen. But both of those starts came way back in April, so you have to wonder if he will be able to shut them down for a third time.
The Milwaukee Brewers have one major Achilles heel this season. They can’t win on the road. The Brewers are a disappointing seven games under .500 away from Miller Park this year. They have lost three out of four on this road trip that has to have been exhausting with all of the runs being scored against Washington.
And when you look at the Cardinals, they do the majority of their winning at home. The Cards are twelve games over .500 at home and are happy to be at Busch Field today as they have spent much of this month out on the road. St. Louis played eleven of their previous fourteen games on the road this month before last night’s homestand opener.
This starting pitching matchup is basically a wash. Gio Gonzalez is pitching a little better than Michael Wacha right this minute, but when you look at their career stats, they are basically the same guy. I give the slight edge to Gio, but for all intents and purposes, we can call that a wash and feel pretty good about it.
But when you look at how these teams are playing right now, that edge must go to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals have won eight out of their last ten games. The Brewers? They have lost five out of seven. And the fact that this game is being played in St. Louis makes me want to back the Cardinals eve more.
This line opened up with the Cardinals as -115 home favorites. And that number felt like a sharp one. There isn’t a lot to separate these two teams, but I agreed with the books that the Cards should be favored. So, it is a little bit surprising that the early morning action has come in on Milwaukee, and that has pushed this number to where it stands now, where this game is an even pick ‘em.
I will take advantage of this line move and back what I see as the more profitable side, the St. Louis Cardinals, and get to do so at even money rather than laying wood. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals in what should be a very evenly matched contest tonight at -105!