Best Value Odds on Cards When Facing Blue Jays in Battle of Birds

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 4:33 PM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 25, 2017 4:33 PM UTC

Two of the most disappointing teams in baseball in the first couple weeks will collide in interleague action Tuesday. St. Louis is making a comeback, while Toronto continues to flounder.

After unthinkable 3-8 start, the Cardinals are beginning to hit and the starting pitching is coming around, and they have won six of seven. The Blue Jays have yet to win a series in six tries, including just splitting one with the Angels in Anaheim.

How should you look at Tuesday's Jays-Cardinals opener for MLB picks? Let's break it down and I'll seek to improve on a recent 4-1 record after starting like both these teams here.


Pitching Matchup: Estrada Vs. Wacha

Here is the thing about Toronto's Marco Estrada (0-1, 2.63 ERA). The last time be broke 90 MPH it was most likely in a car, not throwing a baseball. And despite the fact every batter he faces has read the scouting reports and been told to be patient and look for the change-up, Estrada generates a ton of swings and misses, and opposing hitters are only batting .217 against him. He has not faced St. Louis since his Milwaukee days when he was 0-4 with a 5.52 ERA as a starter.

After a cogent 2015 season in which Michael Wacha was 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA, the right-hander took a giant step backward last season at 7-7 with a bloated 5.09 ERA. What happened? After giving up .895 hits per inning, Wacha went to 1.15 HPI, which was his undoing. This season he is 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA, and the hits are down and strikeouts are up. When this 25-year-old is hitting his spots, runs are scarce against him.


Cards Starting To Fly, Blue Jays Grounded

The St. Louis offense has only scored 3.9 RPG in this hot stretch, but that is better than the 3.3 the Cards were averaging. To get back into the swing, literally, Dexter Fowler (.169 BA) and Matt Carpenter (.236 BA) have to make greater contributions. That is not to say others are carrying the load, but these players are the table-setters.

Toronto is in tough shape at 5-14. The Jays have been without their best player, Josh Donaldson, for some time, and aging veterans Jose Bautista (36) and Russell Martin (34) are looking every bit their age with abysmal .129 and .180 batting averages, respectively. Add in the departure of Edwin Encarnacion and a couple other holes in the batting order, along with two starting pitchers hurt, and this is a team in trouble. Consider the last team to make the playoffs after a 5-13 start was 65 years ago (N.Y. Giants 1951). The concern about the Jays is real.


Betting Odds, History & Bullpen Numbers

The MLB odds have St. Louis as a -140 betting choice with a total Un7.5 (-120). Because of interleague play, these teams meet about every three years and the last time Toronto saw the Mississippi River up close was 2011. The Redbirds have a terrible 5.63 bullpen ERA; however, that has been coming down the last week. The Jays' bullpen ERA is better at 4.22, but they have blown four of seven save chances.


The Winner Is ...

St. Louis looks like an easy choice, and add in Toronto's loss in Anaheim did not end until after 10:00 Pacific time and they lost two hours by flying, and the Blue Jays' crummy start will likely lead to more lethargic play against a rejuvenated foe.

MLB Free Pick: Cardinals -140Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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