All 30 Major League Baseball teams will be in action on Wednesday with games scattered throughout the day. Down in St. Petersburg, we’ll see the second game of an intriguing interleague matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 32-23 Rays are currently third in the American League East behind New York and Toronto, while the 32-24 Cardinals are looking up at Milwaukee in the NL Central.
Bovada oddsmakers think the Rays are a good bet to make it two straight wins in this one. Tampa Bay is at -140 on the moneyline in a game with a low over/under of just 7.5 runs.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals came into the year with high expectations after losing last year’s National League Wild Card clash to the Dodgers. The team surprisingly bailed on manager Mike Shildt over the offseason and replaced him with a first-year skipper in Oliver Marmol.
Marmol has his club very much in the thick of the NL Central race, with just a half-game separating St. Louis from Milwaukee at the top. The Cardinals’ plus-52 run differential is actually vastly superior to the Brewers’ plus-25 mark. The Dodgers (plus-109) and Mets (plus-75) are the only NL teams with better run differentials to this point.
After Hudson’s stellar outing on Tuesday, the Cardinals will opt for a bullpen game tonight. Left-hander Packy Naughton is slated to get the start, but he’ll quickly give way to a cavalcade of Cardinal relievers.
Tampa Bay’s two most potent hitters, Wander Franco and Brandon Lowe, are currently on the injured list.
Tampa Bay Rays
Despite the fact that they don’t have nearly as much money to spend as most other American League contenders, the Rays just keep winning. Tampa Bay finished with the best record in the AL last season, and they’re nine games over the .500 mark again this term.
However, they have a bit more competition at the top of the division. The Yankees own the best record in the American League, while the Blue Jays are playing their best baseball of the campaign. Tampa Bay is already eight games behind New York in the East, which means Kevin Cash and co. may have to settle for a Wild Card spot this time around.
Cash will have right-handed veteran Corey Kluber on the mound in this one. Kluber is a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner and a three-time All-Star, but the 36-year-old is past sthe prime of his career. Kluber is 2-2 with a 3.73 ERA on the year.
He’ll occasionally flash glimpses of his old self, but his bad outings are extremely bad. Kluber was lit up for eight runs on 11 hits in just three innings of work against the Angels in a start last month, and the Cardinals lineup he’ll face in this one is no slouch.
St. Louis should be putting the ball in play plenty in this game. Kluber’s 22 percent strikeout rate is about league average, while the Cardinals’ lineup has whiffed just 21 percent of the time against right-handed pitching on the year.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Rays MLB Game Pick
Oddsmakers like the Rays in this one because Kluber is a more stable presence on the mound. Naughton hasn’t enjoyed much success early in his career, while the Cardinals’ bullpen hasn’t been much better than average in any statistical category.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, are getting healthy. Tyler O’Neill returned to the lineup after spending the past few weeks on the IL, which is a huge boost to the offense. O’Neill had a career year in 2021, finishing with a career-high 34 homers and 80 runs batted in.
I just don’t think the Rays should be as heavily-favored on the moneyline as they are in this one. The Cardinals are good value at +120 to win the game outright and even the series at a game apiece.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Rays Betting Recap
- Moneyline: Cardinals +120, Rays -140
- Runline: Cardinals +1.5 (-165), Rays -1.5 (+145)
- Over/Under: Over 7.5 runs (-110), Under 7.5 runs (-110)
- Pick: Cardinals +120