MLB Picks: Chalky Cardinals in Line to Win a Close Game vs. Cubs

Darin Zank

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 2:12 PM GMT

The Cubbies took Game 1 of a series in St. Louis Monday night, cashing in as +130 underdogs on the betting line. Can they do it again Tuesday night?

Cubs-Cardinals Tuesday Odds
As of early Tuesday morning the best line we could find on St. Louis and Michael Wacha was the -150 at Heritage, while Chicago and Jason Hammel could be found getting +143 at GT Bets. Also, most of today's MLB betting odds market listed a total on this game of seven runs, with a few 7.5's out there, too.

 

The Situation
Chicago grabbed Game 1 of this series Monday night 9-0, rapping out 11 hits while getting seven shutout innings from Dan Haren. So the Cubs have won four games in a row, while St. Louis has lost four of its last five.

At 79-57 Chicago trails the Cardinals by 7.5 games in the NL Central, but leads Washington by 8.5 games in the fight for the second National League wild-card berth.

At 87-50 St. Louis leads second-place Pittsburgh by 5.5 games in both the NL Central and in the battle for the best record in the National League.

The Cardinals lead this season series nine games to five, with the OVERS going 8-6.

 

Tuesday's Twirlers
Wacha (15-4, 2.69), by our count, is 17-for-25 on quality starts this season, working on a run of six in a row. Eleven days ago he gave up four runs – none earned – in six innings against San Francisco, while over his last six starts he's held foes to just four ER through 39 innings. For the season Wacha has allowed fewer hits, 137, than innings pitched, 157, walked 40 and struck out 134 for a K/BB ratio of nearly 4/1.

St. Louis is 19-6 in Wacha's starts, with the UNDERS going 13-11.

In six starts against Chicago over his short ML career Wacha has allowed 15 runs over 36 1/3 innings; the Cardinals won four of those games, while with the help of some good run support five of those games played OVER.

Hammel (7-6, 3.55) is just nine-for-26 on quality starts, and just one for his last nine, although some of that has to do with a short leash. Last Wednesday he gave up four runs in five innings against Cincinnati, and over his last four starts he's allowed 14 runs over 19 1/3 innings. On the season, though, Hammel has allowed fewer hits, 132, than innings pitched, 147, and owns and 148/32 K/BB ratio (nearly 5/1).

The Cubs are 12-14 in Hammel's starts, with the UNDERS going 14-12.

Over the last two seasons Hammel has started four times against St. Louis, giving up 12 runs through 16 1/3 innings; Chicago lost all four of those games, and three of those games played OVER.

 

Tuesday's Batting Splits
Chicago versus right-handed pitching this season ranks 14th with a .320 team on-base percentage and 14th with a .407 team slugging percentage. And those numbers have been improving recently.

St. Louis, meanwhile, ranks third against righties with a .326 team OBP but only 17th with a .404 team SP.

 

Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Busch Stadium this have skewed toward the UNDERS by a 43-24 margin, as they've averaged just 6.8 runs per, easily the fewest among all ML ballparks.

 

Injury Update
Chicago rookie C Kyle Schwarber (13 HR/.365 OBP) has missed recent action with sore ribs, and is questionable for this series.

St. Louis IF Kolten Wong (11 HR/15 SB) is questionable for tonight with a pulled calf.

 

Cubs-Cards Free Picks
St. Louis gets the check mark in the pitching match-up and in the comparison of the bullpens, so we'll play the Cardinals tonight. Also, four runs might win this game, so we're thinking UNDER.

 

MLB Picks: Cardinals (-154) & 'UNDER' 7.5 at BookMaker