The Minnesota Twins are in St. Louis today for game one of a quick two-game series with the Cardinals. The Twins have fallen on hard times and are struggling to get back to .500 on the year. They did, however, just take three out of four games from the Chicago White Sox, for their first series win in almost a month. The Cardinals are riding high as they just swept the Chicago Cubs in a three-game set, and have won five straight games.
Starting tonight for The Twins is Fernando Romero (1-0 0.00 ERA). For the Cardinals, it will be John Gant (1-0 0.00 ERA). The Cardinals are -140 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Cardinals are playing some great baseball to start the season. They are alone atop the National League Central standings as they hold a game and a half lead over the second place Milwaukee Brewers. However, tragedy may have struck as the Cardinals all-world catcher, and the heart of their team, Yadier Molina went down with an injury.
Molina took a foul tip to the groin and has what they are calling a pelvic injury with a traumatic hematoma. That is the scientific way of saying he took a fastball to the balls. Molina is slated to miss up to four weeks as he had to have surgery to fix the hematoma. I can’t imagine the horror of an injury like this one, and it was sickening to see him curled up on the ground in pain. The Cards are certain to miss their catcher as he is both the emotional leader in the clubhouse, and a dominating force in their lineup. It will be very curious to see how St Louis reacts without him over the course of the next several weeks.
Starting for the Cardinals tonight is John Gant. Gant is a bit of a wild card as there isn’t a lot of info out there on him. He is young and untested and has just seventy major league innings under his belt. Most of those innings have come out of the bullpen and Gant is making his first start of the season tonight. Gant has yet to give up an earned run in three innings of work out of the bullpen so far this year.
Starting for Minnesota is another untested young guy in Fernando Romero. Romero made his major league debut in his last start and looked great. Romero pitched five and two-thirds shutout innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. Romero did struggle with his command a bit as he walked three batters and gave up four hits. But he managed to work out of a couple of jams and pick up his first ever big-league win.
It is rare that you will find a game where both pitchers are so inexperienced. Maybe in September after all the late season call-ups, but this early in the season on two teams that are competing for the playoffs, it doesn’t happen a lot. For today’s game, we can call the starting pitching matchup a wash. Both guys are very young and have potential, but I am not ready to take a stand on either guy.
So, where do we take a stand in this one then? All other things being equal I like backing the home team. Especially on this St. Louis Cardinals team that is 5-0 on this current homestand and 12-5 on the year at home. They play their best baseball at Busch Stadium, and their twelve home wins are second in the National League to only the Arizona Diamondbacks.
And when you look at the flipside, the Minnesota Twins haven’t played very well on the road. Minnesota is 7-7 at home this year, but just 6-10 on the road. The Twins have more road wins than only the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals in the American League.
The Minnesota Twins can’t hit, they are 26th in the majors in runs scored. And they can’t pitch much either, as they are also 26th in the majors in earned run average. All of that adds up to what has been a very disappointing start to the season. This Minnesota team had aspirations of making a second consecutive trip to the playoffs after surprising just about everyone and winning the wild card last year.
The Twins are going to need to start winning now as they find themselves five games back of even the second wild card right now. There is a lot of baseball to be played, but this team isn’t one that is talented enough to dig out a big hole. No team in baseball that had a losing record after April made the playoffs last year, and that is where the Twins find themselves right now.
This number opened at St. Louis -130, and the early betting sharps have pushed it to -140. It appears that betting on one of the best home teams in National League playing against one of the worst road teams in the American League is appealing to the sharps and I would tend to agree. I am going to jump on that bandwagon and follow the sharps lead and take the Cardinals at home tonight. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals -140 tonight at home!