With MLB's best home record, the Cardinals are once again solid favorites on the MLB odds to send St. Louis fans home happy in Tuesday's matchup against the Cincinnati Reds.
One swing of Kolten Wong's bat was all the St. Louis Cardinals needed Monday to take down the Cincinnati Reds. Wong went deep with the bases drunk to plate every run the Cardinals scored in the 4-1 victory, their MLB-leading 37th at home while maintaining a 6½ game lead in the NL Central.
The clubs go right back to work Tuesday night with the first pitch slated for 8:15 PM (ET). St. Louis is activating Jaime Garcia from the disabled list to make the start, and sports books are giving him a big edge over the Reds, BetOnline listing the Cards as -169 chalk. Cincinnati counters with Mike Leake, the baseball odds presently showing a 7 run total that is priced heavily to the 'over' and likely to move to 7½ before first pitch.
How Long Can Garcia Stay Off DL This Time?
Leake drags a personal 3-game win streak into Tuesday's tussle, and the Reds have won six of his last seven starts dating to mid-June. Two of the victories came on the road in Miami and Pittsburgh where the former San Diego State star combined to pitch 15 innings while allowing just two runs and a walk against 15 strikeouts.
He pitched well against the Cardinals, that start coming in St. Louis back in April when Leake went eight frames in a 2-1 setback. With that loss, Cincinnati is now 1-4 in Leake's last five assignments at Busch Stadium, with Matt Holiday (.385), Mark Reynolds (.364) and Wong (.333) all raking against him and each taking him deep along the way.
The start of his season delayed by a shoulder injury, Garcia was on a roll before hitting the DL with a strained groin at the end of June. Given his fragile history, it's very likely that the lefty will find the DL once again before the Cardinals reach the postseason in October. Three of his seven assignments this year were at home where Garcia owns a 1.71 ERA. This will be Garcia's first look at the Reds this year, the Cardinals going 4-3 in his last seven starts against them while Garcia pitched to a 3.22 ERA.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
A floater among MLB umpiring crews, Marcus Pattillo is filling in for crew chief Mike Winters in this series and set to call balls and strikes in Game 2. It's just his fourth plate assignment of the season and 18th in his career, but already his third at Busch Stadium after working a game here earlier this year along with in 2014. The Cardinals split the two games as home favorites, each one failing to make it to the total on the MLB odds board.
Scattered thunderstorms are in the into the early evening, and with Garcia on a pitch count, he won't survive any delay. I'm taking a chance with the visitors for my free baseball pick.
MLB Pick: Reds +161