Padres at Cardinals Free Pick for May 21st

San Diego Padres +165 at St. Louis Cardinals -175 (Total: 8)

Clayton Richard (2-5, 4.94 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (3-2, 2.68 ERA)

The Cardinals have been mired in a rough stretch recently.  Given their pedigree and resilience it is easy to simply assume they will right the ship and begin playing well, but it also could very likely be a sign of some continued tough times ahead.  Lance Berkman’s injury appears to be more serious than some had speculated, leaving them without a huge bat in the middle of their lineup.  Their starting pitching is still good, but Adam Wainwright is hovering near a 6.00 ERA nearly two months into the season, which has to leave you wondering if he is all the way back from his season-ending injury a year ago.

The Cardinals are getting “above the mean” performances from several other key contributors.  Carlos Beltran looks like he fell into the same time machine Berkman had last season, playing the allstar caliber baseball of the early 2000’s.  Kyle Lohse has been All-Star good this season, and has never been an All-Star in his previous decade in the bigs.  Same goes for David Freese.  Yes, he was awesome in the World Series last year, but he is a guy who didn’t break into the big until his 28th birthday.  I hear often of his “young talent.”  He’s been good, but guys, he’s “young” like new Cleveland Browns QB Brandon Weeden (think “Chris Weinke” if you aren’t familiar with the reference….)

The point of all that is not to collect hate email from irate Cardinal fans.  It is simply saying that this team might have played a bit above its collective head in April and is now trending back towards the mean.    Baseball has a way of doing it to nearly everyone and every team over the course of 162 games.  Josh Hamilton isn’t hitting 75 homeruns, and Derek Jeter isn’t going to hit .370.  Likewise, Albert Pujols and Jose Bautista aren’t hitting .200.  It will all come out in the wash the next five months.

The Cardinals are throwing Jaime Garcia tonight, who is a good example of regression back to the norm.  In his past three starts he is allowing nearly one and half baserunners per inning and sports an ERA of 5.42.  His overall numbers and name recognition are better, but his recent performance doesn’t lend much value to the large line tonight.

The Cardinals are obviously a better team, especially at home, than are the Padres, but at nearly 2:1, I like the value in the Pads with their “young” lefty, Clayton Richard on the mound.  The Padres have been playing decent ball of late, winners of four of their last six, and winning back-to-back series for the first time this season.  Meanwhile the Cards have dropped eight of ten and are now dealing with injuries on top of the slide.

Give me the Pads in a nice value-pick underdog tonight in St. Louis.

Free Pick:  San Diego Padres to WIN +165 <– Click for $100 FREE Bet (US Only)

Chris Scheeren / Author