Because of a major coronavirus outbreak on the team, the St. Louis Cardinals haven’t played in more than a week. Barring any setbacks, they will return to the field on Friday for a home series opener against the Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals are MLB betting favorites.
Cubs vs Cardinals – MLB Odds & PicksHow to Bet Cubs at Cardinals MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Friday, 8:15 PM ET
- Where: Busch Stadium
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Jon Lester/Jack Flaherty
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: Cardinals -129, Cubs +129 (total 7.5)
The Cubs are running away with the NL Central right now, but they also have played a pretty easy schedule thus far with the Brewers, Reds (both were supposed to be good but aren’t yet), Pirates and Royals (two of MLB’s worst team). The Cubs have won at least nine of their first 11 games for the fifth time since 1901 (also 1907, 1934, 1969, 2016). The rotation has been tremendous.
It’s clear now that Cubs manager David Ross has demoted former closer Craig Kimbrel, who has been utterly terrible this season. Kimbrel was pulled out of a save opportunity in a three-run game Tuesday after giving up a single and a double in the ninth and has a 32.40 ERA this year. Jeremy Jeffress and/or Rowan Wick will take over closing duties for now.
In an oddity this week in a win over Kansas City, the Cubs had multiple players named Jason homer in the same game for the first time in franchise history. Jason Heyward hit a two-run homer in in the second inning and Jason Kipnis added a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Heyward’s dinger marked his first homer since September 10, 2019 at San Diego.
It’s lefty Jon Lester (1-0, 0.82) on the bump here. Lester gave up just one run in six innings with four strikeouts, but didn’t factor into the decision of Sunday’s start against the Pirates. Lester allowed a solo homer to Kevin Newman in the first inning, but was untouched over the next five frames. The left-hander fired five no-hit innings in his season debut against the Reds. Lester isn’t striking guys out but also isn’t walking anyone with a 5/2 K/BB ratio.
With 14 Major League seasons under his belt and 36 years on his body, Lester is no longer the No. 1 starter for the Cubs, but he has been tremendous. Lester already has three World Series rings at home — he won titles with the Red Sox in 2007 and ’13, and then he helped the Cubs end their 108-year drought with the ’16 crown — but says a fourth even in this weird season would matter.
“A ring’s a ring,” Lester said. “I’m still fighting for that. I don’t care if it’s 60 games or 190 games or whatever it is. You still have to play well to get that trophy.”Why Bet on St. Louis?
To say the Cardinals are well-rested is an understatement as they haven’t played since July 29 and just five times all season due to a coronavirus outbreak on the team – the Cardinals and Marlins are the lone two teams who have been ravaged by COVID-19 so far.
A total of seven St. Louis players tested positive so they all are out for a while. Those are catcher Yadier Molina (a future Hall of Famer), Paul DeJong (All-Star last year), Edmundo Sosa, Rangel Ravelo, Junior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley. The seventh player didn’t give his permission to the team to release his name. All-Star right-hander Carlos Martinez also went on the injured list, though no reason was given.
With Martinez out, Shildt indicated that he planned to play the matchups at closer for the time being. Kwang-Hyun Kim is moving into the rotation to take the spot of Carlos Martinez, opening up the ninth inning.
To help fill the vacancies, which become two fewer with rosters reduced from 30 players to 28 on Thursday, the Cardinals recalled pitchers Alex Reyes and Genesis Cabrera from their alternate training site in Springfield, Missouri.
The remaining players, who had been quarantined in their Milwaukee hotel since July 30, were finally allowed to fly back to St. Louis on Wednesday. Mike Shildt, the 2019 National League manager of the year, said the virus was brought into their group from the outside via an asymptomatic source.
It’s ace Jack Flaherty (1-0, 2.57) on the mound. He was historically good last year after the All-Star break and went 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA in 33 starts overall. Flaherty has just the one start this season and he dominated Pittsburgh on July 24, holding Pirates to two runs over seven innings. Both runs came in the seventh. Flaherty gave up four hits that inning, but all were singles and two never left the infield. With a little more luck, he would have completed seven scoreless innings. But he was charged with as many as two runs for just the fourth time in his last 17 regular-season starts.Game Trends
- The Cubs are 6-4 in Lester’s past 10 vs. the Cardinals.
- The over is 6-4 in Lester’s past 10 in the series.