Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds meet in St. Louis in game one of another series in one of baseball’s bitter rivalries. The Cardinals are -120 favorites over the Reds with an over/under run total set at 7.5.
The St. Louis Cardinals have been battling from at or near the top of the National League Central all season thus far but it’s clear this is a race that will be decided later rather than sooner. The Cardinals have lost their last two games, are 21-18 at home this year, and 5-5 in their last 10 games. As a team St. Louis is hitting .270 led by Mat Holliday at .319, Jon Jay at .301, and Lance Berkman at .297 and 22 home runs. The Cardinals pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.96 with the starters at 3.85 and the bullpen at 4.20. For game one against the Reds St. Louis starts Chris Carpenter who has been at the center of the heated words and feelings between these two ball clubs. For the season Carpenter has allowed 125 hits and 51 earned runs while striking out 90 over 114.2 innings of work.
The Cincinnati Reds avoided the home sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians by winning on Sunday but nothing would make their Fourth of July more spectacular than their bats exploding off of Carpenter’s pitching. The Reds are two games off of the pace in the NL Central, 5-5 in their last 10 games, and 20-21 on the road this season. As a team Cincinnati is hitting .260 with Joey Votto hitting .313, Brandon Phillips at .295, and Jay Bruce at .265 with the team lead at 18 home runs. As a team the Reds’ pitching staff has an ERA of 4.08 with the starters at 4.51 and the bullpen at 3.30. For game one at Busch Stadium Cincinnati starts Johnny Cueto who has won his last three decisions. For the season Cueto has allowed 45 hits and 14 earned runs while striking out 48 over 68.1 innings of work.
St. Louis is 1-5 in their last six home games,5-2 in their last seven games as a favorite, and 7-15 in Carpenter’s last 22 starts. Cincinnati is 7-2 in their last nine games as an underdog, 1-4 in their last five game one of a series, and 2-5 in Cueto’s last seven road starts against a team with a winning record. St. Louis is 6-1 in Carpenter’s last seven home starts against Cincinnati and Cincinnati has won four of the last five meetings of these two.
Carpenter has looked like the Carpenter of old in his last two starts and Cueto is having his best season yet so runs are going to need to be manufactured in this one and that usually leads to a low scoring game. I’m taking the under of 7.5 here.