The Cardinals claimed the distinction as the first team to sweep Joe Maddon’s mighty Chicago Cubs this week – at Wrigley Field, no less. St. Louis has been expectedly solid this season but still lies a full nine games back of Chicago in the NL Central. A division crown might be too much to expect from Mike Matheny’s group this year, but the Birds will make that strong Wild Card push that we’ve come to expect. Their road trip continues out in Seattle.
The Cardinals are travelling and coming off an extreme high after beating Jake Arrieta to complete the sweep at Wrigley Field yesterday. That combination of circumstances could lead one to believe the Cards are in a letdown spot on Friday. Everything else says that Carlos Martinez and company should continue to roll against a Mariners team moving in the wrong direction.
Not only is the St. Louis lineup almost entirely and simultaneously hot right now, but Martinez has been firing bee-bees in the month of June. He’s off four straight quality starts, in which he has yielded only four runs in 29.1 innings. Even more impressive, the last three of those games have come against respectable offenses (San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Texas). I think he’ll keep it rolling in this one.
Meanwhile, the M’s are 2-8 in their last 10, free-falling in the AL West after a hot start that caught baseball’s attention and now will turn to Wade LeBlanc, who last pitched in the big leagues in 2014 when he made one appearance out of the bullpen for the Yankees. He was an average pitcher at his peak way back in San Diego and that’s way, way back for LeBlanc. The guy hasn’t pitched for over a year and runs into a hot and talented group that won’t hold back tonight. The Bird are laying some heavy chalk on the road tonight, but it’s well-warranted. Let’s roll with the hot side for half a unit.
Free Pick: Cardinals -130
YTD: 14-12-1 +1.75
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02