Cardinals' Leake to Dominate Red Sox on Wednesday, May 17

mike leake cardinals

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:15 PM GMT

Wednesday, May. 17, 2017 1:15 PM GMT

Our MLB handicapper sports a significant advantage for one of the starting pitchers in this matchup. Read on as he gives his angle for the marquee matchup between the Cardinals and Red Sox on Wednesday night.

2017 MLB Record: 64-59-4 (-2.50 Units, -1.69% ROI)

Boston Red Sox At St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals have overcome a slow start to leap ahead in the NL Central standings and continue a two-game interleague series with the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night at home. With Mike Leake on the mound for the Cardinals and Rick Porcello starting for the Red Sox, the moneyline odds on this game are very even at just a -107 lean towards the home team Cardinals at BetOnline. The total has opened and settled in at 8 runs across the board.

My opinion on this game is that the MLB odds shouldn't be even, as Leake holds significant advantages over Porcello in performance this year. Leake has a miniscule 1.94 ERA, yes, but also a career-best 3.12 FIP on the season. There are some related advanced stats to explain this as well, including a career best .237 BABIP, 54.3% ground ball rate and 8.1% HR/FB rate. Leake’s whiff rate has also climbed to a career best 7.7%, which in itself is not off the charts, but combined with a reduction in hard-hit batted-ball rates indicate a pitcher who is keeping hitters off balance at the plate.

In traditional statistics Leake is getting the job done as well. Through 46.1 innings and seven starts, Leake has a 4-2 win-loss record and has allowed 2 runs or less in six starts --  and only 3 runs in the seventh outlier start on the season. All starts for Leake this year have gone at least six innings.

Porcello has had to have been nearly perfect to pick up a win in his last six starts.  Only a one-run allowed performance on the road against the Minnesota Twins picked up a win for Porcello since mid-April. He’s accumulating some divergent advanced statistics on his effectiveness, as his whiff rate has climbed in 2017 – along with his hard-hit rate and HR/FB rate. Porcello’s ground-ball rate is the lowest in his career, though, suggesting that the league’s focus on uppercut swings are being effective on the 28-year-old right-hander.

What I don’t like about Porcello is that he is allowing a .321 batting average against right-handed batters on the year. The Cardinals will be able to stack the lineup to take advantage of that split. On the other side, Leake has allowed a .213 BAA against lefties and .202 against righties, so no lineup card advantages can be found there. I’ll take the Cardinals at a very reasonable home line one of my Wednesday MLB Picks of the Day.

Free MLB Pick: Cardinals -107Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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