The Cubbies took Game 1 of a big NL Central series with St. Louis, & the atmosphere got a little hot, with a couple of beanings. Which way are we betting Saturday's must-see Game 2?
Cards-Cubs Saturday Odds
As of this writing the MLB betting market had not yet lined this game, because of the late announcement of lefty Travis Wood as Chicago's starter. St. Louis is going with Michael Wacha.
Friday's game, an 8-3 Chicago victory, went off at right around a pick 'em, and played OVER a total of 8.5 runs.
Chicago grabbed the opener of this series Friday afternoon 8-3, with a little help from two homers and six RBI from Starlin Castro and 4 2/3 scoreless innings from the bullpen. So the Cubs have won 11 of their last 15 games, while the loss snapped a four-game winning streak for St. Louis.
At 92-55 the Cardinals now lead the NL Central by five games over second-place Pittsburgh, six games over third-place Chicago.
At 86-61 the Cubs have also pulled to within one game of the Pirates for the lead in the National League wild-card race.
The Cardinals lead this season series 10 games to seven, with the OVERS going 10-6-1.
Wood (5-4, 4.11) is just two-for-eight on quality starts this season, to go along with 39 appearances in relief. Just Thursday night he tossed two perfect innings against Pittsburgh, striking out five of the six batters he faced. And last Saturday he started he started at Philly, throwing three scoreless innings, striking out five. On the season Wood has allowed 84 hits through 92 innings, walked 36 and struck out 110.
Chicago is 4-4 in Wood's starts, with the OVERS going 5-2.
In his only start this season against St. Louis, back in May, Wood got clipped for six runs in five innings of a 10-9 Cubs loss. Last year, in five starts against the Redbirds, Wood allowed 16 ER through 27 2/3 innings; Chicago went 3-2 in those games, while all five games played OVER.
Wood is likely to be on a short leash again today.
Wacha (16-5, 2.96) is 18-for-27 on quality starts, and seven for his last eight. Last Sunday he held Cincinnati to two runs through six innings, which was a nice bounce-back effort after getting clipped by these Cubs for six runs through four innings in his previous start. But just before that Wacha went six straight starts of allowing two ER or less. On the season Wacha has allowed 146 hits through 167 innings, walked 47 and struck out 141.
The Cardinals are 20-7 in Wacha's starts, with the totals splitting 13-13.
In three starts this season against Chicago Wacha has allowed 12 runs through 16 innings; St. Louis managed to win two of those games, and all three games played OVER.
Saturday's Batting Splits
St. Louis ranks just 25th in the Majors this season against left-handed pitching with a .307 team on-base percentage, and 28th with a pedestrian .348 team slugging percentage.
Chicago, on the other hand, ranks 13th against right-handed pitching with a .320 team OBP and 14th with a .410 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Even though Friday's game played OVER, the UNDERS are still 37-31 in games played at Wrigley Field this season, which have averaged 8.0 runs per.
St. Louis just got OF Matt Holliday back after a long stint on the DL, but he got beaned in the head Friday and left the game. His status for today is uncertain.
Cards-Cubs Free Picks
We whiffed on our pick on St. Louis Friday, mainly because, from what we can tell, we didn't put enough credence in the starting pitchers' recent track records against Friday's opponents. When we do that for today's game, we're led toward the OVER. Also, Chicago owns an edge with the sticks, and seems to be playing with some verve at the moment. So we'll take the Cubbies as our MLB pick this Saturday.
MLB Pick: Chicago & OVER