Chicago at St. Louis Pro Baseball Betting Prediction
The Chicago Cubs won’t be leading the National League Central wire-to- wire in 2017 after last year’s dominant effort led to the franchise’s first World Series title since 1908. The Cubbies look to avoid a 0-2 start to 2017 when they play in St. Louis in Game 2 of their series on Tuesday. Let’s take a closer look at this MLB betting preview.
Chicago at St. Louis Pro Baseball Betting Prediction
When: Tuesday, April 4, 8:15 PM ET
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Probable pitchers (away/home): Jake Arrieta/Adam Wainwright
TV: MLB Network
Radio: Chicago / St. Louis
Opening MLB Lines: TBA
Why Bet on Cubs?
Chicago rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the top of the ninth inning in Sunday’s opener to tie on Wilson Contreras’ three-run homer, but the Cards scored in the bottom of the ninth off Mike Montgomery to win 4-3. A sign behind home plate camouflaged a ball headed for infielder Javier Baez during a key play in the third inning of the game, possibly costing Chicago a chance at a double play.
With Dexter Fowler on first base, Aledmys Diaz hit a hard ground ball to Baez, who was shaded toward second base. But the ball skipped to the left of Baez and into right center field, allowing Fowler to go to third base. Matt Carpenter drove him in with a sacrifice fly to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. There’s little doubt the Cubs would have turned a double play, thwarting a scoring chance while limiting starter Jon Lester’s pitch count.
Kris Bryant had a miserable night at the plate in Sunday’s loss, going 0-for- 4 with three strikeouts. Bryant whiffed in each of his three plate appearances against Cardinals’ starter Carlos Martinez. Then in the biggest spot of the night, with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, he popped out to right field which failed to deliver the tying run.
Also, Cubs manager Joe Maddon became the first manager to call for a no-pitch intentional walk, using the rule that was adopted by Major League Baseball. Maddon had the left-hander Montgomery intentionally walk St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied at 3-3.
The Cubs go with Jake Arrieta here. Arrieta followed his 2015 NL Cy Young season by winning 18 games. He went 11-3 on the road, so the right-hander won’t mind pitching at Busch Stadium. Plus, he was 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA in four starts last year against the Cardinals.
Much of the magic that fueled Arrieta’s astonishing, historic 2015 Cy Young campaign seemed to wear off early last season, coinciding almost precisely — and strangely — with his no-hitter on April 21, when he walked an unusual-for- him four batters. Though still an excellent pitcher for his 31 starts walk rate rose alarmingly, from 5.5 to 9.6 percent, and he eased off his signature slider, such a productive pitch for him in 2015, throwing it nearly 11 percent less often.
Why Bet on Cardinals?
Cardinals starter Martinez and three runs given up in 1.2 innings by the Cubs’ relief staff was the difference in the 4-3 win Sunday. Martinez reached 100 mph on several pitches, blowing a few by reigning National League MVP Bryant. Anthony Rizzo also flew out with the bases loaded as the Cubs’ dynamic duo went 1-for- 8 with four strikeouts.
Randal Grichuk made up for one tough at-bat early in the game for two massive ones later. The Cardinals left fielder took a called third strike with two runners on and the pitcher coming up behind him — a no-no — in the second inning. But he unloaded a two-run home run in the eighth and a game- winning single to win it in the ninth.
Seung Hwan Oh suffered his first blown save of the season in Sunday night’s opener, allowing three runs on two hits and a pair of hit batsmen in 1 2/3 innings of work. Oh was called upon to relieve Martinez with two men on and one out in the eighth inning, with the Cardinals clinging to a one-run advantage. He made things interesting by hitting Kyle Schwarber to load the bases before getting both Bryant and Rizzo to pop out to right field. He was left out there for the ninth, despite Grichuk’s two-run homer to lengthen the lead. Oh hit Ben Zobrist to start the inning, then allowed a one-out infield single to Jason Heyward on a ball that was bobbled at first base. Contreras then swatted a game-tying three run homer to blow the save.
It’s Adam Wainwright for the Cards in this one. It’s the first time since 2012 that Wainwright didn’t pitch the season opener. He’s seeking a bounce back year after posting a career-worst 4.62 ERA and 1.404 WHIP in 2016. He left Spring Training confident that his curveball is back.
Wainwright’s strikeout rate was already in decline entering last year, and the wheels completely came off in 2016, as he posted career worsts in ERA (4.62), FIP (3.93), WHIP (1.40) and batting average allowed (.281). Diminished control and poor luck were mostly responsible, but even during his down year, Wainwright at times flashed his prior ace form: He had a 2.58 ERA during a 12-start stretch from May 18-July 21, which was his most useful stretch of the season.
Chicago at St. Louis Betting Prediction: Chicago Cubs
The Cubbies won’t want start 0-2. Arrieta largely owned the Cardinals last year.