The St. Louis Cardinals have caught a bit of a break in their schedule playing the Royals and the Oakland Athletics back-to-back and have now won three-in-a-row after last night’s 6-2 win over the A’s. The 54-66 Cardinals will go for the sweep of the 33-87 A’s in this three-game set today with Matthew Liberatore on the mound.
The Athletics will hand the ball to Paul Blackburn who is 2-3 with a 4.52 ERA in 12 starts this year. Liberatore is 2-4 in 10 starts with a 5.72 ERA and both pitchers have made one relief appearance.
The Cardinals are favored at home in the series finale despite Liberatore’s struggles on the mound.
Athletics vs. Cardinals odds, run line and total
Athletics vs. Cardinals prediction and pick
Matthew Liberatore may have an ugly ERA, but man was he good last time out. He went eight scoreless innings against the Rays with seven strikeouts and no walks. He dropped his ERA to 5.72 and his FIP all the way down to 4.60 which is around where his ERA will likely end the year, if not better.
The Athletics, like the Rays, are one of the few lineups in baseball that could get a struggling pitcher back on track, or keep his momentum rolling. Brent Rooker was a problem for left-handed pitchers in the spring, but not anymore. Since July 1 the A’s are 26th with a .639 OPS against lefties and 25th with a wRC+ of 79.
Paul Blackburn, like Liberatore has a FIP much lower than his ERA with a 3.73. He was solid last time out, but the trip to the mound prior to that, back on August 5, he went six scoreless against the Giants.
Neither bullpen is particularly strong, but they’ve been better lately. Oakland’s bullpen has a 4.99 ERA since July 1 and St. Louis’s is at 4.77. For Oakland that’s much better than their yearlong mark, so I’ll trust that group to keep this game from going over.
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