CH Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals: Free Baseball Pick Satuday, May 13th

Cubs pitcher Jon Lester

Saturday, May 13, 2017 2:03 PM GMT

It is a middle confrontation of this intense rivalry which is near the world famous Arch in downtown St. Louis. Chicago won Game 1 and looks to take the series lead tonight against the Cardinals.

Pitching Matchup - Lester vs. Martinez

Jon Lester (1-1, 3.27 ERA) is coming off a fine seven-inning outing in which he struck out a season-high nine against the Yankees last Sunday. The Cubs need more starts like this from everyone and Lester can to the catalyst to get this started for them. The left-hander is at his best when he is working low in the zone with fastballs and curves, inducing a mixture of ground-balls, lazy fly-balls and swings, and misses. Though Lester is only 5-4 versus St. Louis, he only has a 1.86 ERA against them.

After a nasty three-game stretch, Carlos Martinez (2-3, 3.86) has put together a trio of quality starts and has begun to return to prior form. The right-hander's conundrum at times is leaving pitches in the middle of the plate and though six home runs allowed in seven starts is not horrific, Martinez had only given a total of 28 the prior two years. The 25-year has seen mixed results against Chicago with a 3-3 record and 4.75 ERA.

 

Cubs Look Stagnant, Cardinals Are Flying

In some ways, the World Series champs look fine, averaging nearly five runs a game and they are second in bullpen ERA in the National League. In watching the Cubs, the spark is not there and after being an intimidating force the last two years, opponents are almost mocking them when they assemble big innings and Chicago shows no emotion. Being the hunted is different and this team has lacked great starting pitching and clutch performances at the plate and in the bullpen late in games.

After a laboring start, St. Louis is 16-6 and blew by Chicago in the standings. As compared to their rival, the Cardinals are getting production not in spurts, but in manager's Mike Methany's lineup card in slots 1-thru-8. The Cards pen may not have the Cubs ERA, however, they are 4th in saves in the NL, with their counterparts 10th.

 

Betting Odds and History

The opening MLB odds have Chicago as a small -104 favorite with the total at 7.5. These teams have played it close at Busch Stadium with Chicago holding 13-12 edge since 2015 and the total is 12-11-2 Under.

 

The Winner Is......

Oddly, the Cardinals are just 9-9 at home and scoring only 3.8 RPG at Busch Stadium. With St. Louis 9-19 at home vs. a starting pitcher who strikes out five or more batters per start, I will lean with Chicago to take Game 2 of the series.

 

Free MLB Pick: Chicago -104Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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