MLB Odds: Cardinals & Over Offer Great Value vs. Diamondbacks

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, May 21, 2016 11:00 AM UTC

Saturday, May. 21, 2016 11:00 AM UTC

Arizona just can't seem to get going, and it's not likely that things will start trending upward when it visits St. Louis on Saturday afternoon. Here's your MLB Pick on this game.

What You Need To Know
Arizona thought it had the potential to have one of the best all-around outfields in the major leagues this season in left fielder Yasmany Tomas, center fielder A.J. Pollock and right fielder David Peralta. And I'd agree that could be one of the best. Alas, only Tomas is playing currently.

Pollock was lost on the eve of the season to a fractured right elbow and had surgery on April 5. He might be able to get back late this season. Pollock was an All-Star and Gold Glover last year. Peralta, meanwhile, is a two-time All-Star and Gold Glover but was lost to the disabled list a week or so ago with a right wrist injury. That's not considered too serious and he could be back by the end of the month. But manager Chip Hale has had to do a lot of juggling in the outfield of late. Twice this week, he has played backup catcher Chris Hermann out there. On Wednesday, infielder Phil Gosselin got a look in left field. Chris Owings hadn't played the outfield since he was 12, he says, but has generally been manning center field. One of the team's top prospects is outfielder Peter O'Brien in Triple-A, but the Snakes don't want to call him up yet.

Even though St. Louis has one of the highest-scoring offenses in baseball, it had been in a mini-funk, so manager Mike Matheny made a change on Thursday that looks like it will stick for a while. He moved shortstop Aledmys Diaz, a leading National League Rookie of the Year candidate, from the bottom of the lineup to No. 2 and shifted Stephen Piscotty from No. 2 to cleanup. Diaz was on base twice and scored twice, and Piscotty reached base four times and had two RBIs in the Cards' 13-7 win over Colorado. Entering Thursday, Cardinals cleanup hitters had a .605 OPS, last in the majors

That was the ninth time St. Louis has scored at least 10 runs  this season. It was the most in the majors through 41 games in 15 years and matched the Cardinals' 2015 total overall. The question is: What does Matheny do when starting shortstop Jhonny Peralta is ready to make his season debut off injury likely later this month? Diaz absolutely can't come out of the lineup as he's among the NL batting leaders.

Probable Pitchers
The Diamondbacks go with left-hander pitcher Robbie Ray (2-2, 4.46). He started the season with three straight quality starts but then went into a bit of a funk and the Diamondbacks lost his next four outings, where he never lasted more than 5.1 innings. But Ray was good Monday against the visiting New York Yankees, allowing two runs and six hits over seven innings -- his longest outing of the season -- in a 12-2 victory. He walked only one, just the second time this season he gave fewer than two free passes in a game. He also didn't allow a homer and hasn't in six of his eight starts. The Diamondbacks 3-8 on MLB odds in Ray's past 11 following a quality start in his most recent outing.

When the Cardinals visited the desert back in April, Ray didn't face them. Last year, Ray made one start against St. Louis and it was perhaps his worst of the season, allowing six runs and five hits over three innings, walking five in a 9-1 loss. The Cardinals batted around in a four-run first. Yadier Molina is 1-for-1 with a double and RBI off Ray. Matt Carpenter is 0-for-1 with a walk. Piscotty is also 0-for-1 with a walk. Kolten Wong is 1-for-2 with an RBI.

St. Louis goes with right-hander Mike Leake, the team's big free-agent acquisition this offseason. Leake (2-3, 4.66) looked like a bit of a bust in his first six starts, but he has turned it around in his past two, allowing exactly one earned run in each, spanning 14 innings. Both were in Los Angeles -- wins at the Dodgers and Angels. Leake has been getting better results on his sinker and cutter, inducing more ground balls. When he doesn't get the ball down, he tends to allow home runs. In those past two wins, Leake has gotten 26 ground-ball outs. The Cards are 4-1 on MLB picks in Leake's past five starts.

Leake started last season with Cincinnati and was traded to San Francisco. He made two starts against Arizona while with the Giants and was 0-2 with a 9.35 ERA. He gave up nine runs and 19 hits, including two homers, in 8.2 innings with five strikeouts and four walks. Jean Segura is 7-for-21 off him career. Rickie Weeks might get a spot start as he's 6-for-15 with two doubles, two homers and a triple off Leake. Jake Lamb is 3-for-3 with two walks. Paul Goldschmidt struggles vs. Leake, only 3-for-20 with four strikeouts.

Cardinals and 'over.'  Arizona is 2-8 in Ray's past 10 road starts. The Cardinals are 7-2 in their past nine vs. left-handers. The 'over' is 4-1 in Ray's past five starts and 4-1 in Leake's past five.  

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Free MLB Pick:  Cardinals -131
Best Line Offered:  at BetOnline

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