Cardinals Are MLB Betting Favorites Against the Brewers on Thursday

Posted by Michael Hunt on Wednesday,April 19, 2017 8:58, EDT in

If you had said one team was in last place in the NL Central and one was battling for first when the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers squared off on April 20, I would have been OK with that. But the Brewers near the top and Cardinals at the bottom? Nope? They open a series in Milwaukee on Thursday and the Cards will be MLB betting favorites.

St. Louis at Minnesota MLB Betting Preview & Prediction

When: Thursday, April 20, 8:10 PM ET
Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee
Probable pitchers (away/home): Carlos Martinez/Zach Davies
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioSt. Louis / Milwaukee
Opening MLB Lines: Cardinals favored by TBA

Why Bet On St. Louis?

Monitor the status of the Cards’ Matt Carpenter. He didn’t play on Monday or Tuesday and could miss a day or two more. Carpenter suffered a laceration and some swelling to a finger on his right hand Sunday while trying to field a groundball.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak indicated Monday that Matt Adams is unlikely to play left field anymore. He probably never would’ve played the position in the first place if the decision were solely Mozeliak’s, but manager Mike Matheny seemed convinced Adams’ bat would make up for any defensive deficiencies in left. But, Adams has hit a lowly .174/.269/.174 so far while looking lost in the outfield. St. Louis is going to sink or swim with Randal Grichuk in left field.

The Cards will be favored here behind ace right-hander Carlos Martinez (0-2, 3.57), although as you can see he’s looking for his first win. Martinez allowed three runs — two earned — on four hits and eight walks while striking out 11 batters through 5.1 innings during Saturday’s loss to the Yankees. After the Reds beat Martinez around in his previous start, Saturday’s performance was a step in the right direction, especially in the strikeouts column, though the eight walks are alarming.

But it should be noted that the last pitcher to do something as simultaneously brilliant and baffling as what Martinez accomplished — striking out 11 batters and walking eight — was Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, who needed 158 pitches to get through a 1993 game.

For some reason, the Cards allowed Martinez to throw 118 pitches. The last Cardinals pitcher to throw at least 118 pitches in six innings or fewer was Lance Lynn on May 12, 2015. That one didn’t work out so well. Lynn had Tommy John surgery that November. Manager Mike Matheny said he sent Martinez out for the sixth inning because he was the team’s best option to get outs. Matheny basically has no faith in his bullpen.

Why Bet On Milwaukee?

One of the early stories of baseball is Brewers slugger Eric Thames, who was brought back to the majors after killing it for a few years in Korea. Thames homered in a fifth straight game Monday as the Brewers took down the Cubs. Thames doubled and scored in the first, hit a solo homer to lead off the third, and then singled and scored his third run of the game in the eighth.

The 30-year- old first baseman looks like one of the best signings of the offseason so far, with a .405 batting average, 1.479 OPS, seven home runs, 12 RBI, and 15 runs scored through 12 regular-season games as of Tuesday. Thames batted .349/.451/.721 over his three seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization.

Another pleasant surprise has been closer Neftali Feliz. He notched his fifth save of the season Monday night against the Cubs. Feliz gave up a leadoff single to Jon Jay and followed with a walk of Willson Contreras, but he induced a double play from Albert Almora and struck out Kyle Schwarber to protect the Brewers’ three-run lead with a scoreless ninth inning. Feliz is 5-for- 5 in save chances this season with a 1.59 ERA and 0.71 WHIP.

It’s Zach Davies (0-2, 8.79) on the mound here. Davies allowed three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four batters over five innings during Saturday’s loss to Cincinnati. Davies entered 2017 with a serviceable 3.92 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over the first 34 starts of his career dating back to 2015.

Things have gone much worse to start this season, though. The 24-year- old righty has allowed 14 runs through three starts, 2.02 WHIP and 15.5 strikeout percentage.

The good news for Davies is that he’s been here before. His ERA after three starts is 8.79, nearly identical to his 8.78 after three starts in 2016 before the righty turned a corner. Davies went 11-4 with a 3.54 ERA in 25 starts the rest of the way.

St. Louis at Minnesota MLB Betting Pick: St. Louis Cardinals

Martinez was strong against the Brewers last year so back St. Louis.