Twins & Cardinals to Battle it Out in 4-Game Series: Get Our Free Daily MLB Picks Here

Willie Bee

Monday, June 15, 2015 1:11 PM UTC

Monday, Jun. 15, 2015 1:11 PM UTC

The Twins and Cardinals finish up their long interleague series with a matinee affair at Target Field. Can Minnesota earn a split as the underdog on the MLB odds?


18th June
Twins vs. Cardinals Game 4

By: Willie Bee



The St. Louis Cardinals have been doing a lot of things very well all season. But they still haven't mastered life on the road and Redbird hitters have been susceptible to left-handed pitchers, two issues that came together Wednesday night in Minnesota where St. Louis fell to Tommy Milone and the Twins, 3-1.

Minnesota is now in position to split the 4-game battle in today's matinee at Target Field.  The 1:10 PM (ET) should be part of MLB Network's usual Thursday afternoon package, Jaime Garcia slated to start for the Cardinals while the Twins counter with Mike Pelfrey. St. Louis is priced as a moderate favorite on the moneyline, -135 at BetOnline, and the MLB odds board also includes an 8 run total, the 'under' favored by most sports books.


Twins Unbeaten At Home In 5 Starts By Pelfrey
The entire Cardinals pitching staff has been outstanding this year, but Garcia is a big reason why the rotation has managed to survive with Adam Wainwright in the mix. The southpaw has averaged seven innings per start since making his season debut in May, and while the club has lost three of his five appearances, that has been due to the offense getting blanked in all three setbacks while Garcia was limiting the opposition to all of five runs in those games.

The 28-year-old was the one putting zeroes up in his last start, picking up a 4-0 win vs. Minnesota's AL Central rivals from Kansas City last Friday. Thursday night will be the first time he has faced the Twins, no batter on the current roster having faced Garcia before.

Pelfrey has seen the Cardinals before, though it was four years ago when he was toiling for the Mets. Three career starts and a relief outing against St. Louis have yielded a pair of wins and a save, the save coming in a 2010 game Garcia started for the Cards, 21 innings total with a 3.00 ERA. The former Wichita State star is coming off a terrible beating last Saturday in Texas (3.2 IP, 8 ER), but has been outstanding at Target Field this season, the Twins winning all five starts while Pelfrey pitched to a 1.48 ERA.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
MLB did send the umpire crew that worked the matches in St. Louis up to Minnesota to work the rest of the series, leaving Paul Nauert to take up position behind the plate this afternoon. Seven of Nauert's previous 11 games under the mask never made it to the totals, though two of the last three jumped the baseball odds as did his April 13 plate assignment at Target Field. Home underdogs stand 1-2 so far in 2015.

Nothing on the weather front should interfere with this game; a few clouds are in the forecast, but no chance for rain while the game is played in the mid-70s with a 7-8 mph NW breeze (out to right). I'm going to take the plus-number with a free MLB pick on the home 'dogs.

My pick: Twins +125 at BetOnline


17th June
Twins vs. Cardinals Game 3

By: Willie Bee



Neither rain nor an FBI investigation can slow the St. Louis Cardinals these days. They went through both yesterday, showers delaying the start of their game with the Minnesota Twins and again in the seventh inning, the federal probe centering on the club's front office allegedly hacking into Houston Astros computers.

Now they'll try to hack through an 8-game road trip that takes them to Minnesota first for the continuation of this home-&-home series with the Twins. Wednesday's contest is set for an 8:10 PM (ET) start with Carlos Martinez looking to extend St. Louis' win streak to six and Tommy Milone tasked with stopping a current 1-7 skid by the Twins. Current moneylines at 5Dimes have St. Louis -125, the MLB odds also listing an 8 run total (U -110).


Cards On 5-Game Win Streak Behind Martinez
Martinez is on a roll with the Cardinals winning his last five outings, three of those on the road. He had his sinker working last Wednesday in Colorado, a very good place to have a sinker in one's arsenal, pitching into the seventh and allowing just two runs while coaxing 14 groundballs in a 4-2 victory. It was his sixth consecutive start giving up two runs or fewer and Martinez owns a 1.16 ERA in that span.

Overall, St. Louis is 10-2 when Martinez starts, Wednesday's being his first appearance ever against the Twins. The Cardinals lost his only interleague assignment, a 10-4 decision at home to the Tigers in which he pitched five and allowed two runs.

Milone began the year as Minnesota's fifth starter, but was optioned back to Triple-A when Ricky Nolasco came off the DL. The Twins recalled the former Southern Cal star when Nolasco headed back to the trainers table with an ankle injury, and Milone has earned a couple of no-decisions on the road in games the Twins split at Boston and Texas. He faced the Cardinals once before, a June 2013 assignment while a member of the A's, and picked up the win despite serving up three home runs.

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Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
There's no guarantee the same umpire crew that started this series will travel to Minnesota to work the next two games at Target Field, but we have seen that often before which means Joe West would take up position behind the plate on Wednesday. The 63-year-old West is now in his 38th big league season, and has made friends with 'over' bettors this year thanks to a 10-5 O/U mark. West also owns the same 10-5 record for visiting teams on the moneyline.

Everything looks fine in the forecast for the Twin Cities area, a chance for a passing shower during the afternoon before tapering off and leaving some muggy conditions for tonight's clash. Let's stick with the hot hand and play St. Louis with our free MLB pick.

My pick: Cardinals -125 at 5Dimes


16th June
Twins vs. Cardinals Game 2

By: Willie Bee



Home, sweet home continues to be the motto for the St. Louis Cardinals after topping the Minnesota Twins by a 3-2 count on Monday. The victory left the Cardinals 25-7 on their own diamond, and they'll shoot for an MLB-leading 26th home triumph Tuesday afternoon when this series continues.

St. Louis is heavily favored to get the dubya in the 1:45 PM (ET) matchup, the first contest on today's live baseball odds. Michael Wacha will be on the mound for the Redbirds who are presently drawing a -176 moneyline at 5Dimes. Kyle Gibson is scheduled to start for the Twins, a 7 run total carrying a little extra juice on the high side.

Both Pitchers Facing Opposition For 1st Times
June has not been very kind to Gibson with the Twins losing both of his assignments so far this month and the former Missouri Tigers star allowing nine earned runs in 13 innings. He entered the month with Minnesota 6-4 in his first 10 starts, good enough for a little more than three units of profit vs. the baseball odds, and sporting a 2.61 ERA. Gibson also had allowed just five home runs in those initial 10 outings, but has served up four in two June appearances.

This will be Gibson's cherry against the Cardinals, and he hasn't fared well in six previous interleague starts. Minnesota is 1-5 in those contests, Gibson's ERA a fat 6.11 with six long balls in less that 36 frames.

After helping his club to dubyas in each of his first nine assignments this year, Wacha has appeared mortal in recent outings with St. Louis dropping two of the last three. He whiffed 10 would-be Colorado hitters in Denver last Tuesday, matching a career-best set in April 2014 against the Mets, but also gave up a season-high nine hits along with four runs in the 4-3 loss. Wacha is facing the Twins for the first time, St. Louis winning both of his interleague starts in 2015.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Mike Estabrook dons the mask for a 12th time this season, six of his previous 11 plate assignments going 'over' the totals. That 6-5 O/U record has been helped along by five of his last six games behind the dish hurdling the MLB odds, though he did work one Gibson start earlier this year that failed to reach the number. Home teams have won seven of 11, going 4-3 as the favorites.

As is the case across much of the Central US, rain is in the St. Louis forecast for Tuesday. The chances for thunderstorms increase as the afternoon wears on, and that could lead to Estabrook and the rest of the umpire crew hurrying this game along. It's difficult not to like the Cardinals in today's affair, and I like them enough to play the run line for my free MLB pick.

MLB Pick: Cardinals -1½ (+125) at 5Dimes


15th June
Twins vs. Cardinals Series Opener

By: Willie Bee



For those fans who don't like interleague play, the next four days on the MLB betting schedule are going to be pure hell with nothing but AL-NL matchups saturating the slate.

Among the series on the board is a battle between a couple of Central Division squads as the Minnesota Twins from the American League travel to face the St. Louis Cardinals from the National League. The first of four games between the sides gets underway Monday evening (8:15 PM ET) with a mound duel between a pair of hurlers each sporting 4-4 personal records, Trevor May of the Twins and St. Louis' John Lackey. Due to a shift in the Cardinals rotation, lines have yet to appear on SBR's live baseball odds.

It's just the seventh time the Twins and Cardinals have gotten together in the regular season, and second collision in 14 years.  Monday will mark the third consecutive series between the clubs in St. Louis, the most recent coming in 2009 when Minnesota took two of three. All three games in that '09 series failed to make it to the total, two of them just scraping 'under' 8½ run figures. The Twins are 2-6 O/U their last eight while the Cards have gone 'Under' the MLB odds offerings in their last four contests, and seven of the last eight.


May The 'Dog For 11th Time In 12 Starts
Minnesota (34-28, +12.4 units) finally stopped a skid that had reached five consecutive losses with a 4-3 victory at Texas on Sunday. The Twins avoided their 2nd-straight sweep after dropping all three at home to Kansas City last week to fall out of first place in the AL Central, and they begin a weeklong schedule against National League clubs, two at home vs. St. Louis followed by a visit this weekend from the Chicago Cubs.

In an effort to pick up the offense by adding some speed to the order, Minnesota promoted top prospect Byron Buxton before Sunday's win. The second overall pick in 2012, Buxton was hitting .283 with 20 steals in 59 games for Double-A Chattanooga before being called up.

May has been favored just once in his 11 assignments this year, the Twins going 6-5 in those games to put 2.5 units of profit into the accounts of baseball bettors. Half of the six victories, and only one of the losses, came when May was on the road despite a 4.64 ERA outside of Minneapolis. A 4th-round pick by the Phillies in 2008, this will not only be May's first time to face the Cardinals, but his first career start vs. a National League team.

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Lackey Climbs Hill For 1st Time In A Week
St. Louis (41-21, +17.8 units) saw the finale of its weekend series against the Kansas City Royals rained out. The Cardinals had won the first two games of the set to boost their MLB-best record to 20 games over .500, and have gone 8-4 so far in the month of June. They'll head to Minnesota on Wednesday to complete this home-&-home series, then continue that road trip in Philadelphia and Miami.

Sunday's postponement is allowing manager Mike Matheny to give his rotation even more rest after the club also had last Thursday off. Lackey was slated to work the series-ender against the Royals and will have enjoyed six days off since being pummeled in Colorado last Monday, allowing 10 runs (8 earned) in four frames. This will be the first time he has faced the Twins in a Cardinals jersey, but saw them plenty while pitching for the Angels and Red Sox. Lackey went 3-1 in his last five assignments vs. Minnesota with a 1.23 ERA.

There's more rain in the St. louis forecast today and Tuesday, and with this being the only trip Minnesota makes to Busch, umpires will be inclined to wait things out or play under wetter than usual conditions. The Cards will be favored, and my initial notion for a free MLB pick is to back them with a 24-7 record at home.

MLB Pick: -166 Cardinals at 5Dimes

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Season: 50-37-2 (+13.95)

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