Wednesday's Game Three
By: Willie Bee
The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals have split a couple of 2-1 outcomes so far this week, and the NL Central rivals will decide this series once and for all on Wednesday with a matinee at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis' Lance Lynn will try to improve to 5-0 on the season when he delivers the game's first pitch at 1:45 PM (ET). MLB odds at The Greek have Lynn and the Redbirds -115 chalk in the rubber game, and +105 on the Reds who are sending Homer Bailey to the hill.
Wednesday's total is 7.5 runs and carrying extra juice on the UNDER.
Baseball bettors playing the low side of the total in this series are very happy with the outcomes in the first two games. Tuesday saw St. Louis even the series behind Jaime Garcia's fine effort on the mound, and the Cards got all the runs they needed with Matt Holliday's 2-run jack in the sixth inning.
The triumph lifted St. Louis into first place in the NL Central, a half-game ahead of both Milwaukee and Pittsburgh while Cincinnati fell a game behind in fourth.
The Reds are 2-4 on their current road trip, and Bailey will try to send the club to Chicago on a winning note before opening a weekend series with the Cubs. Four of his five starts this season have been quality efforts, but the one that wasn't was a very ugly outing on this mound three weeks ago. Bailey lasted five innings while surrendering seven runs, serving up three gopher balls in the process.
Lynn is coming off his fourth consecutive dubya after beginning 2013 with a no-decision at Arizona, a game the Cards ultimately lost 10-9 in 16 innings. The win streak began with a fine performance against the Reds on April 9 when he struck out 10 over six frames while allowing just one run.
Doug Eddings will be under the mask for Wednesday's series finale, and brings a 4-2 O/U record into the matchup. The thermometer is supposed to climb into the 80s during the course of the game, and there will once again be a little SE breeze (out to left).
I've been wrong about the totals in the first two games, so proceed at your own risk when I once again get behind the two lineups and play the OVER on Wednesday. Another series we've been following this week at SBR finds the Nationals and Braves in Atlanta where we have a preview and free pick for Wednesday night's Game 3.
My pick: Reds-Cardinals Over 7.5 (+100)
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Willie Bee
Those tight standings in the NL Central that we discussed on Monday? Well, they're even closer now after the top two clubs both went down in defeat while the bottom three each came home winners last night.
The Cincinnati Reds will try to make it two in a row Tuesday night over the St. Louis Cardinals when the clubs reconvene at Busch Stadium. A quick glance at SBR's live MLB odds shows the Reds will have to do it as the underdog once again with the Cardinals -135 favorites to even the series.
Tuesday's total is 7.5 and priced to the UNDER at some wagering outlets for the mound duel between Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo and Jaime Garcia.
A pitching duel is exactly what broke out in the series opener when Mat Latos and Adam Wainwright hooked up. Latos and Reds relievers were the better group of arms to help Cincinnati to the 3-2 triumph. The victory pulled the Reds into a 2nd-place tie with the Cards, both a half-game back of the Pittsburgh Pirates who were blasted by the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Arroyo saw his string of four quality starts come to an end last Thursday at Washington where he surrendered six runs (5 earned) in six frames to take the loss. It was his second defeat in five assignments, the other coming here in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago when the Cards posted a 5-1 dubya. The righty has struggled in two starts away from home this season.
The flip side is St. Louis is 0-2 in Garcia's two home outings, both no-decisions for the lefty despite putting up fine numbers (13.2 IP, 3 ER). One of those setbacks came to the Reds who are 3-2 in Garcia's last five starts against them.
Clear skies and temps in the mid-70s is the forecast for Game 2. One of the worst umps in the league is slated for plate duty, and even though Angel Hernandez brings a 6-0 O/U record into the affair, it's dangerous to count on any type of consistency with his strike zone and temperament.
I'm going to come right back with another play on the two offenses despite the setback betting the OVER on Monday. Look for enough runs Tuesday to help us get the cash in the second contest of this series. Meanwhile in Atlanta, the Braves and Washington Nationals are engaged in a 4-game series that SBR is covering with previews and sports picks.
My pick: Reds-Cardinals Over 7.5 (+100) at 5Dimes
Monday's Series Opener
By: Willie Bee
Monday's 12-game schedule includes a lot of big names on the mound and interesting matchups, but it might not get any better than the Natural League Central battle in St. Louis between the Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. This one has both a solid pitching duel and great rivalry that should be intensified with both clubs needing wins to stay close in the division race.
Adam Wainwright and the Cards are -130 favorites with the moneyline not shifting much from the openers at most shops charted on SBR's live MLB odds. Mat Latos is on tap for the Reds, and the match is carrying a 7 run total that has a little extra juice on the OVER.
It's the second meeting of the season between the Redbirds and Redlegs, each club watching early views from atop the division fall to the wayside and both chasing the red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates to begin the week. The Bucs grabbed a half-game advantage by beating the Cards twice in St. Louis over the weekend, while the Reds began a 10-game road trip losing three of four in Washington. Cincinnati avoided the sweep on Sunday and is making its second trip to Arch City with this series.
In a series that has been played since 1882, St. Louis' two wins at home earlier this month gave the Cards an all-time record of 1,185-1,095 (.520). The Cardinals are 61-51 since 2006 when their latest stadium opened, 37-21 on this diamond. Two of the three played three weeks ago went OVER.
Tight NL Central Finds Reds, Cardinals A Game Apart
Week 5 opens up with all five teams in the NL Central separated by just 5.5 games, bookended by the Bucs in first and Cubs in last. Only a game apart in second and third respectively, St. Louis and Cincinnati are also close to each other on the offensive side of the coin.
The Cardinals rank third in the National League scoring 4.75 runs per game, and Carlos Beltran is a big reason why. Beltran leads the club with six homers and is on pace for his first 100 RBI campaign since he was with the Mets in 2008.
Cincinnati is plating 4.73 RPG, and the lineup has been very patient so far drawing a league-best 106 walks. Power is spread throughout the batting order as Todd Frazier has six long balls while four others have cranked four out of the yard.
Expect K's Monday & Rest Of Series
Both pitching staffs excel in sending would-be hitters back to the dugout with K's on their scorecard, and Monday's starters are a big reason why. Cincinnati is fourth in the majors whiffing 8.55 per contest; St. Louis is not far behind in seventh (8.40).
Wainwright and Latos are just outside the top 20 in the category with 8.92 and 8.91 K/9 marks, and do so without putting hitters on with free passes. Wainwright has walked just one in his 37.1 IP while Latos has issued just five bases on balls.
We can also expect good weather for the series, if the current forecasts are correct. Monday evening should find the thermometer in the low-to-mid 70s and clear skies for the start of the game. There will be a 12-15 mph wind out of the south and southeast (out to LF, LF corner).
Both hurlers enter tonight in good form, yet struggled against these lineups a year ago. I'm going to take a shot on the OVER with our sports picks in the series opener.
My pick: Reds-Cardinals Over 7 (-105) at 5Dimes