Is St. Louis a Safe MLB Betting Pick Against Cincinnati?

Posted by Kenny Bell on Friday,April 28, 2017 11:42, EST in

The Cincinnati Reds were an early surprise in the NL Central Division and the St. Louis Cardinals an early disappointment. But it seems things are returning to what was expected from each side as they play Game 2 of a series on Saturday at Busch Stadium. The Cards will be baseball betting favorites.

Cincinnati at St. Louis MLB Betting Preview & Game Info

When: Saturday, April 29, 2:15 PM ET
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Probable pitchers (away/home): Bronson Arroyo/Mike Leake
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
Radio: Cincinnati / St. Louis
Opening MLB Lines: Cards favored by TBA

Why Bet On Cincinnati?

The Reds entered this series having lost three straight and six of seven to fall under .500 – where they almost surely will stay. The Reds’ pitching staff was bombed for 29 runs in a three-game sweep at Milwaukee to open this week.

One bright spot was Wednesday when Scott Schebler homered twice in the loss to the Brewers. Schebler took Brewers starter Wily Peralta deep in the fourth inning before tagging Peralta again in thesixth. Both were solo shots. The 26-year- old outfielder now has seven home runs and 15 RBIs through 21 games this season, though he’s sporting a weak .203 batting average and .280 on-base percentage.

The Reds will have catcher Devin Mesoraco this weekend for the first time this season. Mesoraco, who as an All-Star in 2014 when he hit .273 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs, missed most of last season after having shoulder and hip surgeries. Since his breakout 2014 season, Mesoraco has played just 39 major league games the past two seasons. He finished a 20-day rehab assignment on Tuesday. The Reds demoted reliever Barrett Astin to Triple-A Louisville in a corresponding move, reducing the team’s bullpen to seven pitchers.

The Reds go with one of the oldest players in the majors, 40-year- old Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 6.86) on the mound. He might have saved his job last time out by beating the Cubs. A winner for his second straight start, Arroyo was mostly smooth for six innings, giving up two earned runs and three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.

“He was really feeling it. Probably for the first time this year, it looked more like Bronson that we remember from the first time through. … Just really a complete effort by a guy who really knows how to pitch. I think he is starting to really feel those things he needs to feel to make good pitches on a consistent basis,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Arroyo is still trying to improve his stamina to get into later innings but admitted his arm still isn’t 100 percent back. He hasn’t faced the Cards in a couple of years.

Why Bet On St. Louis?

The Reds will have one advantage for this series in that the St. Louis bullpen could be a bit run down after the Cards were forced to play a doubleheader vs. Toronto on Thursday after Wednesday’s interleague game as rained out.

There was one good sign on Thursday as first baseman Matt Carpenter might be ready to break out finally. He had been off to a slow start but hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 1 of the doubleheader. Carpenter hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth and then ended the game with his four-run blast in the 11th, finishing 2-for- 5 with a walk and five RBI in the afternoon victory. Randal Grichuk sent the game to extras with a game-tying two-run blast off Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna in the ninth. Sometimes wins like that can carry a team for a while.

Most NL teams have an automatic out in the ninth spot, usually the pitcher. Not St. Louis. The Cardinals’ 9th place hitters have driven in 14 runs, first among all NL teams. Their 5 HRs out of the no. 9 spot are also tops in the majors and their .500 slugging pct. is 2nd in all of baseball behind only the Houston Astros (.623).

It’s Mike Leake here for St. Louis. The former Cincinnati Red has been the Cards’ best pitcher at 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA. Last time out, he won in Milwaukee. Leake allowed two runs over six innings and drove in two runs. Leake gave up three hits and three walks while striking out six. He scored a run in the third inning and his two-run single capped a three-run fourth when St. Louis took a 4-2 lead.

“I thought he pulled it together when he needed to,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “Those lead walks kind of atypical from what we’ve seen, free bases at all, really, with what he’s done and how well he’s controlled the strike zone.”

In his first three starts, Leake had walked just one in 21 1/3 innings. He was a tough-luck loser vs. Cincinnati on April 7, allowing one run over eight innings.

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

The Reds have remembered who they were, and Leake has been dealing for St. Louis.