MLB Picks: Cardinals vs. Reds Series Coverage

Darin Zank

Friday, May 23, 2014 12:01 PM GMT

St. Louis evened this NL Central series at a game apiece with a 6-3 victory Saturday. So the teams now head into a rubber match Sunday night (8:05 pm ET, ESPN). Here's our breakdown of this series finale, with a free MLB pick thrown in.

 

25th May
Cardinals vs. Reds Game 3

By: Ron Patrick

 

Sunday's Line
In the early betting St. Louis and Adam Wainwright were chalked at around -145 over Cincy and Mike Leake, with a total of seven runs. The Cardinals could also be found at around +125 on the run line at various shops.

 
Sunday's Starters
Leake (2-3, 2.91) has been pitching in some tough luck this season. He's five-for-nine on quality starts, and four for his last four, allowing six runs through his last 29 2/3 innings. But because of some poor run support and several blown saves, he has just two victories to his credit.

On the season Leake has allowed 54 hits in 65 innings, walked 12 and struck out 38. And yet Cincy is just 3-6 in Leake's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'under' by a 5-3 margin.

Since the start of last season Leake has started four times against St. Louis, giving up 15 runs in 24 1/3 innings; Cincy lost three of those four games.

Wainwright (7-2, 1.85) is coming off a great outing, a one-hit shutout thrown Tuesday against Arizona. He's now eight-for-10 on quality starts this season, and three for his last three, allowing just three runs over his last 23 innings.

For the season Wainwright has allowed just 48 hits in 73 innings, walked 15 and struck out 65. St. Louis is 8-2 in Wainwright's starts, with the totals splitting 4-4.

Since the beginning of last season Wainwright has started five times against the Reds, allowing 19 runs in 29 innings; the Cardinals went 3-2 in those games.

Free MLB Pick for Sunday
We're not sure who's going to win this game, but with Wainwright and Leake going, runs may be hard to come by. So we'll go with the 'under' seven runs, at the -115 offered at 5Dimes, for our free MLB pick on this one.
[gameodds]3/287779/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds] 

 

24th May
Cardinals vs. Reds Game 2

By: Ron Patrick

 

Saturday's Line
In the early wagering action, Cincy and Tony Cingrani were listed as -110 favorites over St. Louis and Jaime Garcia, with a total of seven runs.

Friday Re-Hash
The Cincy bullpen did its job Friday night, throwing three innings of scoreless relief, securing the victory for Homer Bailey. Todd Frazier provided the big blast of the game, a two-out, three-run homer off Shelby Miller in the bottom of the third.

The Reds won as -115 favorites Friday, and the game went 'over' its total of seven when Cincy's Devin Mesoraco, who's now hitting .406, popped a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth for the final run of the game.
 

Saturday's Starters
Cingrani (2-3, 3.76) will be making his second start since coming off the DL (sore shoulder). Last Sunday against Philly he gave up a pair of solo homers to start the game, then settled down after that, throwing six innings in total, allowing four runs and five hits, with three walks and seven whiffs.

On the season, Cingrani is three-for-seven on quality starts, allowing 33 hits in 38 1/3 innings, but the 20 walks is a bit much. Cincinnati is 3-4 in Cingrani's starts, with the totals skewing toward the 'overs' by a 5-2 margin.

In four career starts against the Cardinals, including two earlier this season, Cingrani has allowed eight runs and 13 hits in 21 1/3 innings; the Reds won three of those games.

Garcia (0-0, 5.14) will be making his second start of this season, after missing the last four months of last season and the first six weeks of this year after having shoulder surgery. In his season debut last Sunday against Atlanta he gave up four runs and five hits, including a couple of homers, in seven innings of a 6-5 Cardinals loss. He also walked zero, while striking out five.

Last year Garcia pitched just nine games, going 5-2/3.58, before his shoulder problems put him out.

Garcia started twice against the Reds last year, giving up four runs and 13 hits in 14 2/3 innings; St. Louis split those two games.


Free MLB Pick for Saturday: Both these lineups have struggled against left-handed pitching this season; the Cardinals own a .307 OBP vs. lefties, the Reds .292. So we'll go with the 'under' seven runs, at the +100 offered at Just Bet, for our free baseball pick on Saturday's contest.

[gameodds]3/286391/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]



23rd May
Cardinals vs. Reds Game 1

By: Ron Patrick

 

The Line
Most books opened their betting on Friday's series opener, which matches Shelby Miller for St. Louis against Homer Bailey for Cincinnati, at right around a pick 'em, with a total of 7.5 runs.

 
Series Set-Up
St. Louis just swept three games at home from Arizona, rallying to win Thursday 4-2. The Cardinals have won three series in a row, and seven of their last eight games.

On the homey side of this match-up, Cincy just took two of three games in Washington, winning Wednesday's rubber match 2-1 to complete a 3-3 road trip.

So at 26-21 the Cardinals are in second place in the NL Central, a game and a half back of first-place Milwaukee, while the Reds, at 21-24, are 5.5 games behind the Brewers.

This is the third encounter between these teams this season. St. Louis took two of three games at Cincy to open the season, then did the same a week later at Busch Stadium.


Friday's Starters
Bailey (3-3, 5.44), by our tough standards, is just three-for-nine on quality starts this season. Last time out he got clipped for six runs in less than four innings by Philadelphia, but in his three starts previous to that he had allowed seven ER through 21 1/3 innings.

On the season Bailey has allowed more hits, 63, than innings pitched, 51 1/3, walked 18 and struck out 46. The Reds are 3-6 in Bailey's starts, with the totals skewing toward the 'overs' by a 7-2 margin.

Since the beginning of last season Bailey has started six times against St. Louis, giving up 19 ER and 41 hits in 34 innings; the Reds went 2-4 in those games, with the totals going 4-2.

Miller (6-2, 2.79) is only two-for-nine on quality starts, in part because he's been taken out five times before pitching six innings. Last time out he threw seven innings against Atlanta, allowing one unearned run on five hits, and over his last three starts he's given up four ER through 17 1/3 innings.

On the season Miller has allowed fewer hits, 44, than innings pitched, 51 2/3, but he's also walked 29, which is a bit too many. St. Louis is 6-3 in Miller's starts, with the totals leaning toward the UNDERS 6-3.

In four career starts against Cincinnati Miller has given up nine runs and 19 hits in 22 2/3 innings; the Cardinals went 3-1 in those games.

Concerning the bullpens in this series, St. Louis ranks 20th with a 3.97 ERA and is 14/21 on save opportunities, while Cincy ranks 28th with a 5.00 ERA and is 9/16 on save opps. But the Reds are hoping the return of Aroldis Chapman will help.


At the Bat
St. Louis only ranks 24th in scoring at 3.8 runs per game, 14th in team OBP at .322 and just 29th in home runs with 25. 

Cincy ranks 28th at 3.6 RPG, 21st in OBP at .311, 23rd in homers with 35 but second in stolen bases with 39.

[gameodds]3/282241/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Cardinals-Reds Betting Trends
The totals have leaned toward the 'unders' this season in games played at GABP by a 12-8 margin.

 
Injury Update
Cincy OF Jay Bruce has been activated from the DL (knee), although he didn't play Wednesday; his status for this series is still uncertain. The Reds are also playing without Joey Votto, who's on the DL with a strained quad.

 
Free Pick for Friday
We give Miller the edge in the pitching match-up, and Cincy is missing a big stick in Votto. So we'll go with the Cardinals, at the -103 offered at BetOnline, for our free betting pick on Friday's game.