The St. Louis Cardinals continue to search for a spark on the mound, last in the NL Central through 30-plus games.
After winning the division in 2022, the Cardinals had high hopes for 2023, but the team's pitching staff continues to fail a lineup that is a top hitting unit. The team will hope that Jack Flaherty can get on track for the team against a formidable Angels lineup that counters with Griffin Canning.
How should we bet this Thursday matchup? First, let's look at the odds:
Angels vs. Cardinals odds, run line and total
Angels vs. Cardinals prediction and pick
Trying to get a feel for the Cardinals is tricky. The offense started hot, but the pitching couldn't slow down any offense, but now we are seeing the two trend in the opposite directions.
St. Louis is hitting at the 23rd best average in baseball since April 20, just .229 as a group. As the pitching staff has turned it around, the bats have failed them, but I like the matchup for St. Louis at home on Thursday afternoon against Canning.
Canning has pitched five innings twice and five and a third the other time, he has struggled to find his punch out pitch and his pitch count has been far too high to put together quality starts. The Angels bullpen may need to do some heavy lifting on Thursday afternoon and this is a Cardinals lineup that has gotten a bit unlucky once the ball is in play, 24th in batting average on balls in play in that two week slump.
Every slump comes to an end and I think St. Louis is in prime position to do so on Thursday.
However, this can be a trying effort for Flaherty at home. The Cards have been a mess for two weeks, but the Angels are humming, sixth in batting average and have hit more than 20 home runs in the last 13 games.
Flaherty has allowed a home run in each of his last four starts and is walking nearly six batters per nine innings. He is far too volatile to trust to breeze through the Angels lineup that has been elite at the plate lately.
I'll take the over in what could be a slump busting game for the Cardinals, but one that will require it to get a win.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.