Tough to beat at home, the St. Louis Cardinals are favored on the MLB odds to make it two in a row in their NLCS rematch against the San Francisco Giants.
St. Louis hitters couldn't capitalize on early wildness by San Francisco starter Chris Heston, but the Cardinals had enough fine pitching from Michael Wacha and the bullpen for a late run to push them past the Giants in the series opener on Monday, 2-1.
The result snapped a 4-game win streak for the Giants while handing the Cardinals their ninth victory in the last dozen games as the teams head back to the diamond tonight for an 8:15 PM (ET) start. San Francisco sends Ryan Vogelsong to the mound opposite Lance Lynn of the Cardinals who are priced at -133 on the moneyline at BetOnline. The same shop is carrying a 7 run total on the baseball betting card, the 'over' once again carrying some extra juice.
Vogelsong May Shift To Bullpen After This Start
It was first thought that Mike Leake would come off the disabled list to make this start, but the Giants changed their mind and will run Vogelsong out to the mound Tuesday night instead. The veteran righty began the second half pitching in relief, but was shifted back to the rotation when Leake injured his hamstring in his first start for San Francisco following a trade from Cincinnati.
Vogelsong is coming off a 5-inning performance that netted him a win against the Nationals last Thursday, his linescore including a season-high eight strikeouts. He faced the Cardinals three times a year ago, one of those a rough performance in Game 4 of the NLCS that the Giants rallied to take Vogelsong off the hook. One St. Louis hitter that has given him trouble is Matt Carpenter who has reached base seven time in 12 plate appearances vs. Vogelsong.
Lynn was knocked around by the Pirates last Thursday in the finale of that series, failing to get out of the first inning having allowed seven runs (3 earned). It was his second consecutive loss at home to leave St. Louis 8-4 in his dozen assignments this season at Busch Stadium. Lynn has faced the Giants six times over his career, three of those starts coming in the 2012 and 2014 NLCS collisions. The Cardinals are 2-4 in the matchups, Lynn's ERA a bloated 6.83 while averaging less than five innings per start.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Hunter Wendelstedt is next in the umpire rotation to call balls and strikes, and brings a 9-10-2 O/U/P record on the year into the contest. His only plate assignment at Busch this season was an 'under' that never got close to a 7 run total, just his second game behind the dish in St. Louis the last four years. Home teams have won 14 of 21 with Wendelstedt under the mask, 11 of 14 when favored on the MLB odds.
There are some scattered thunderstorms in the St. Louis forecast this afternoon and evening, something bettors will want to watch for. I'll be watching for another St. Louis victory with my free baseball pick on the home team.
MLB Pick: Cardinals -133 at BetOnline