There is nothing like being forced to play a doubleheader the final day of the season, and we do not expect much scoring in the second game between the Cardinals and Braves.
On the final day of the MLB regular season, a rainout last night necessitated this doubleheader Sunday and we do not anticipate much scoring in the nightcap with both teams probably anxious to move on when Lance Lynn and the St. Louis Cardinals (100-60, 45-34 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Matt Wisler and the Atlanta Braves (65-95, 40-39 home) in the season ending Game #2 from Turner Field in Atlanta, GA at around 4:30 ET on FOX Sports - South.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -113.
Best Record in Baseball
The Cardinals will finish with the best record in all of baseball after finally shaking off the pesky Pirates in the National League Central, a division that will boast the teams with the three best records in the Major Leagues at the end of the day with the Cubs joining the other two teams. The last thing the Cardinals probably want to do is play a meaningless doubleheader before the playoffs, so look for a lot of first-pitch swinging in the second game especially.
At least the Cardinals have somewhere to go after these games, whereas Sunday marks the end of the line this season for the Braves, who have gone from being perennial National League pennant contenders for the past decade to being the losing MLB picks 95 times this year heading into today. Thus they are a team anxious to get on with its off-season plans after a disaster of a year.
Another Solid Year for Lynn
Lynn has had a knack in recent years in outperforming his peripheral numbers, but this year perhaps the opposite has been true as he probably deserves better than his 12-10 record given his 3.06 ERA and nice ratio of 165 strikeouts vs. 68 walks in 170.1 innings. Regardless, his consistency has been undeniable as Lynn has allowed three earned runs or less in 25 of his 30 starts.
Lynn has also had good success vs. the Braves in the past tossing Quality Starts in three of his four career starts against them, although he has not faced them since last year. Then again, that can be seen as a positive as those fine efforts came vs. better Atlanta teams than this one and he is now facing a Braves’ club that that is dead last in the Major Leagues in scoring (3.53 runs per game), home runs (97) and team OPS (.672).
Glimpse of the Future?
The 22-year-old Wisler came over to the Braves from the San Diego Padres as part of the trade for closer Craig Kimbrel and he was the highest ranked pitching prospect in the Atlanta organization and one of the highest in baseball when he was recalled in June. And Wisler broke in with a flourish allowing just one run and six hits in eight innings while winning his Major League debut vs. the Mets before going through some rookie growing pains.
In the end, Wisler is a quasi-respectable 7-8 for a team that is 30 games under .500, but he has a lofty 5.11 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. That is not to say that there have been no good signs from the youngster, especially while allowing two runs or less in six of his last nine starts. Wisler also pitched well in his only start vs. the Cardinals back in July allowing two runs in seven innings of a 3-2 upset win at St. Louis as a +175 underdog.
And that nice outing was vs. the normal starting St. Louis lineup, which will almost certainly not be the case in this season-ending doubleheader nightcap, so the youngster has a very good chance to continue his very good finish as a building block toward a potentially nice Major League career.
Very ‘under’ Friendly Redbirds
Finally, even if you forget about the exact circumstances of this game, the Cardinals have been a great ‘under’ team all year as it has gone 83-66-11 overall with an average total score in all Cardinal games of 7.28 runs.
Look for more of the same to end the regular season with Lynn having a nice tune-up for the playoffs and Wisler continuing his strong finish, so go ‘under’ in the second game of the doubleheader between St. Louis and Atlanta on the final day of the regular season Sunday.
MLB Pick: Cardinals, Braves ‘under’ 7½ (-113) (Game #2)