One of the more intriguing series of the weekend in baseball features the Cleveland Indians visiting the St. Louis Cardinals in what could be a World Series preview. Will it be? Probably not, but it’s possible. The Cards likely will be favored on the MLB odds for the opener Friday.
How to Bet Indians at Cardinals MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Friday, 8:15 PM ET
- Where: Busch Stadium
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Triston McKenzie/Daniel Ponce de Leon
- TV: Fox Sports 1
- Stream/gameday audio: Fox Sports Go, https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: TBA
This is the only scheduled series between the Indians and Cardinals this season.
Brad Hand is clearly the Indians’ closer, but he hasn’t been the team’s best reliever. James Karinchak worked the eighth Tuesday against the Twins for his seventh straight scoreless appearance. Karinchak has allowed one earned run in 16 2/3 innings, and he’s struck out 31 of the 60 batters he’s faced. HE boats a 17.23 SO/9.0 in 2020. Only two pitchers in MLB history have had a 17 SO/9 in at least 20 appearances: Aroldis Chapman (17.7) in 2014 & Craig Kimbrel (17.4) in 2010.
Will the Indians have manager Terry Francona for this series? Probably not. Francona has now taken two extended absences from the team for a combined three health concerns. First he had gastrointestinal issues, then a surgery to fix those and then another surgery to fix blood clots from the first surgery. Last week, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic inserted a stent last week to help Francona’s blood flow “around what was a clogged filter in his veins.”
Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations, has said it could be some time before the two-time World Series champion can return. Some think Francona may have to retire.
“The outlook is obviously very good, but he’s banged up from the procedure,” Antonetti said. “He’s in the process of recovering, but he’s still pretty sore — in fact, very sore. That’s not unexpected, but it will just take him a little while to feel better.”
It’s scheduled to be Triston McKenzie on the mound Friday. After McKenzie turned in one of the best Major League debuts in team history on Saturday against the Tigers, the Indians had no choice but to reward him with another start. McKenzie struck out 10 batters while holding the Tigers to one run on just two hits and one walk in the Indians’ 6-1 win.
The young right-hander didn’t give up a hit until Willi Castro’s home run with one out in the fourth, and he finished strong in retiring five of his final six batters via the strikeout. He was facing a weak Tigers lineup, but McKenzie was excellent, touching 97 mph and showing sharp offspeed stuff.
McKenzie missed large chunks of the last two seasons due to forearm and shoulder issues, but he’s healthy now and was a consensus top-50 prospect not long ago.Why Bet on St. Louis?
The Cards are awaiting word on reliever Kodi Whitley as he is undergoing an MRI on his right elbow. Whitley was cleared last week to head to the Cardinals’ alternate training site in Springfield, Missouri after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, but now he has run into elbow trouble. The 25-year-old right-hander had worked 2 2/3 scoreless (and hitless) innings of relief across two appearances this summer for St. Louis.
Paul Goldschmidt is having a terrific season for the Cards as he has failed to reach base in just one game. By contrast, he’s reached base multiple times in 12 games. His .487 on base percentage would lead the National League by 27 points had the Cardinals played a sufficient number of games for Goldschmidt to qualify among the league leaders.
“You’ve gotta be able to have good at bats,” Goldschmidt said. “When they make a mistake, hit it hard, and a little bit of luck in there. … Just try to keep it goin’.”
As a result of 10 players returning from the COVID-19 injury list this week, the Cardinals must clear spots on their 40-man roster. That will take either trading players or slipping some through waivers in hopes they clear.
Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-2, 5.25) is on the mound for the Cards. Though he was able to build himself back up to a full pitch count quickly after the Cardinals’ return to action, Ponce de Leon will be looking for more efficiency. He allowed two runs on three hits with four walks in 4 2/3 innings against the Reds on Sunday.
Ponce de Leon held the Reds’ bats in check but struggled with control issues. This began immediately, as he surrendered a walk to Nick Castellanos in the first inning, who then crossed the plate on a two-run home run by Eugenio Suarez. Though those were the only runs Ponce de Leon surrendered, he was unable to pitch deep enough into the contest to qualify for the win despite exiting the contest with a 3-2 lead.
Ponce de Leon is throwing more curveballs in 2020. Last season, just 8.5% of Ponce de Leon’s pitches were curveballs. This season, however, he has increased that rate to 21.9%. Many of these curveballs have replaced fastballs as the right-hander’s fastball rate dropped from 70.7% to 59.2%. The curve has been incredibly effective. He has allowed just a .176 wOBA and .297 xwOBA against the pitch.Expert Prediction Cardinals 5, Indians 4