The Cardinals have the slightest of grips on that final playoff spot in the National League with the pesky Pirates right on their heels as per usual. The Birds beat the Phils in extra innings last night and get ’em again on Saturday night. St. Louis finds itself in the playoffs year after year, not because of black magic, but because it finds a way to turn these games into wins more often than the rest. Rookie Luke Weaver gets his second chance to pitch his team to a “W” Saturday night.
We’re finally on at least a mini roll and I really like the Cardinals tonight as small road favorites. By record, the Phillies aren’t nearly as bad as a lot thought they would be (again). But Philly has been outscored by 113 runs this season, which is as bad as every team in baseball minus the Braves and Diamondbacks. The Cardinals are coming down the stretch here and I have full confidence in them as an organization to win these games. It almost doesn’t matter what the pitching matchup looks like.
That said, I’m excited to get behind Luke Weaver on the eve of his 23rd birthday. He made his Major League debut the last time out in place of the injured Michael Wacha and he looked okay against the Cubs. He only got through four innings, but a two-run homer by Addison Russell was all that he gave up in the form of run damage. It’s also important to note that his team won the ballgame. The second start is just so much easier for lots of guys and that theory is only enhanced for Weaver here, who faces a cushier opponent this time around. I’m going to jump at the chance to back the 2014 first round pick against a familiar face like Jeremy Hellickson, who should pitch well but not spectacularly, nor for long against the grind-it-out Cardinals.
The temptation is to let it ride in an undefeated August, but this is just a half unit play. We’re on the Cardinals and feeling real good about it.
Gut Says: Birds -130
YTD: 24-21-1 +1.55
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02