While it's probably about a month too late the Padres are playing some of their best ball of this season. But can we bank on them as home dogs Friday night against St. Louis?
Cardinals-Padres Friday Odds
As of early Friday morning the best line we could find on St. Louis with John Lackey was the -123 offered at BookMaker, while San Diego and Andrew Cashner were getting +115 at GTBets. Also, BetOnline was listing the Cardinals at -150 to win this series, with the Pads getting +130 as home dogs.
San Diego, which hoped to contend for a playoff spot before this season started, but hasn't, might be coming around. The Padres just swept three games from Atlanta this week, taking Wednesday series finale 3-2, and have won three series in a row, and seven of their last nine games.
At 59-62 San Diego sits 10 games off the pace in the race for the second National League wild-card spot.
St. Louis, meanwhile, just took two of three games at home from San Francisco, rallying to win Wednesday's rubber match 4-3. So the Cardinals have won six series in a row, and 13 of their last 19 games.
At 77-43 St. Louis leads the NL Central by 4.5 games over second-place Pittsburgh, and also owns the best record in the National League.
This is the second series between these teams this season; they split four games at Busch Stadium back in July, with three of the games playing UNDER, as the teams combined to score just 18 runs.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Cashner (4-12, 4.20), by our tough standards, is 12-for-23 on quality starts this season, but only one for his last four. Last Saturday he gave up four runs in five innings against Colorado, and over his last four starts he's given up 14 earned runs through 22 2/3 innings. For the season Cashner has allowed more hits, 147, than innings pitched, 139, walked 43 and struck out 116.
San Diego is 9-14 in Cashner's starts, with the OVERS going 13-8.
In his only career start against St. Louis, back in early July, he allowed just one run and three hits through six innings of a 2-1 Padres victory.
Lackey (10-7, 2.87), again, by our strict standards, is 17-for-24 on quality starts, and hasn't allowed more than three runs in an outing since early June. Last Saturday he held Miami to two runs through 8 1/3 innings, while over his last three starts he's allowed eight runs through 20 1/3 innings. On the season Lackey has allowed 151 hits through 160 innings, walked 38 and struck out 116.
The Cardinals are 13-11 in Lackey's starts, with the UNDERS going 13-10.
In Lackey's most recent start against San Diego, in August of last season, he permitted just two runs through seven innings of a 4-3 St. Louis victory.
Friday's Batting Splits
St. Louis ranks ninth in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .259 team batting average, and 10th with a .321 team on-base percentage.
San Diego ranks 25th against righties with a .245 team average and 29th with a .298 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Petco Park this season have gone over the MLB odds total with a record of 33-23, as they've uncharacteristically averaged 8.2 runs per.
St. Louis is playing without OF Matt Holliday, who's on the DL with a pulled quad, and fellow OF Jason Heyward has missed recent action with a tight hammy. Bettors might want to check the lineup card before getting down on tonight's contest.
Cards-Pads Friday Free Picks
St. Louis owns edges in the pitching match-up, the bullpen comparison and with the sticks, so we've got to go with the Cardinals for Friday's pick. Also, our guess is runs might be few tonight, so we're thinking UNDER.
MLB Picks: St. Louis and UNDER 6.5 runs (-103) at Pinnacle