We capped off a nice week (7-2 ATS over last nine picks) of MLB action with another relatively easy winner as the Cardinals finished off the Cubbies 4-1 to complete a devastating series sweep. The win knocked the Cubs to a whopping 11.5 games out of first in the AL Central. Fortunately for the Cubbies, the rest of the league is more normal, so they are only 1 ½ games out of the Wildcard lead – but it once again underscores how insane what the St. Louis Cardinals are doing truly is. A little over a month ago they lost their ace Adam Wainwright, for the entire season and people wondered whether they could hang on to the division. Now, as we get ready to turn the calendars to July, it is fair to wonder if the Cardinals could post the best regular season since the historic 2001 Mariners.
It’s probably unfair to hope for the same near-perfection as last week, but let’s keep the winning ways rolling and see if we can start off another week with another winner.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Texas Rangers +125 at Baltimore Orioles -135 (Total: 9)
Wandy Rodriguez vs. Bud Norris
There are some games you tune into to watch the starting pitchers duel. Tonight is not one of those nights. Wandy Rodriguez enters with an ERA over 4.00 and fresh off a start in which he allowed eight runs and eleven hits – and he is easily the favored pitcher tonight. Bud Norris is fresh off a decent start which pulled his ERA down under SEVEN to 6.70. His .307 batting average allowed is one of the worst among qualifiers in all of baseball, and frankly, it’s hard to fathom the Orioles keeping him in the rotation too much longer. Tonight could be a pretty important game for Air Bud to keep the ball in the yard.
Perhaps Texas can help him out. They have averaged just 2.9 runs per game in their last eight games, seven of which were losses. Then again, Texas has a pretty solid lineup, so it is possible that Bud is the key to getting THEM back on track tonight.
Meanwhile, look for Baltimore to score plenty tonight. They will be pumped to have Adam Jones back in the lineup. He is hitting .528 in his career against Texas. Baltimore is 11-1 in their last 12 games against the Rangers and have owned them dating back to last season. Yeah, I don’t feel great about Bud Norris getting the ball, but expect his leash to be pretty short tonight and his offense to compensate for any shortcomings.
Baltimore is 7-1 in their last eight games and has failed to score four or more runs in a game only once. They are averaging just under seven runs a game in that span. Look for that offensive spark to continue tonight at home and for the O’s to notch yet another win.