Cardinals to Soar Past Marlins in Game 1 of Series

Doug Upstone

Monday, July 3, 2017 3:12 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 3, 2017 3:12 PM UTC

Losing to Max Scherzer is hardly an embarrassment and St. Louis will look to feed off recent fine play when they welcome the Miami Marlins for a four-game series near the Arch in the downtown area Monday.

By taking series against two of the National League's best clubs in Arizona and Washington and posting a 6-2 record recently, the Cardinals are only two games in the loss column behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

Miami salvaged one game in the Brew City and continues 10-game road trip leading into the All-Star break. An easy winner Saturday took my record of late to 23-16 for MLB picks.


Pitching Matchup: Locke Vs. Wainwright

The fact of the matter is Jeff Locke (0-4, 5.52 ERA) has been crummy all for Miami. His below-average curve and slider have been a problem all year and matched with a low 90s fastball that hardly blows hitter's away, it is not that hard to comprehend the Marlins have yet to win any of Locke's six starts. To date, he has yet to complete six innings. Against St. Louis, the lefty is 2-4 with a 4.98 ERA in 11 outings (10 starts).

It has not been the kind of year Adam Wainwright would have expected from himself with a 5.17 ERA in spite of a 8-5 record. Yet at 35, Wainwright realizes he can no longer dominate with fastball/curve combo and is throwing more changeups than at any point of his career, with his fastball topping out at 92. Despite the uneven year, Wainwright has still been exceptional at home with a 5-1 record and 2.64 ERA compared to 8.36 ERA on the road. The right-hander is 5-2 (Cardinals 7-2) with a 2.64 ERA vs. Miami.


Cards' All-Around Play Has Improved

Before hanging 10 runs on the board Sunday against Milwaukee, Miami was not doing much on offense. In the Marlins' prior 11 outings they had only averaged 2.7 runs a contest, but thanks to some rather strong pitching they still managed to win four times in spite of the lack of offense. Offensively, this club should be scoring more runs with All-Stars like Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton (very questionable choice IMO), yet ranking 11th in OBP in the National League does not help.

The Cardinals have only tallied four runs in their past two games; however, they were held in check by Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez, who are first and third in NL in ERA. Prior to this, the Redbirds had scored 7.1 RPG in their past half dozen battles and played with a much better overall focus. The mistakes in the field both running the bases and in defensive situations had been curtailed and the Redbirds only committed three errors in seven games.


Betting Odds, Head To Head & Bullpen Numbers

The MLB odds have St. Louis as -145 money line choice with the total sitting at 9.5. The Cardinals swept the Marlins 3-0 down in South Florida in early May, yet are only 3-3 at Busch Stadium the last couple of years with the 'over' 4-2. No awards handed out for these two bullpens with Miami 7th in ERA and the Cards 11th.


The Winner Is ...

St. Louis has not been a top level home team the last couple of years (22-21, -5 units this season); however, with Miami 15-23 away from home, Locke 3-12 vs. a NL team with an on-base percentage .325 or worse since last season (team's record) and the Marlins 9-28 away after scoring eight or more runs, the Cardinals appear to be a safe bet.

Free MLB Pick: Cardinals -145Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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