Last year, the St. Louis Cardinals won the NL Central and they’ve added a generational outfield prospect to their lineup only to start the year 9-16.
They’re the only team in the NL Central that hasn’t reached 10 wins and they’ve lost three straight to the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. The Cardinals’ struggles are helping San Fran shake off a slow start as they’ve climbed to 11-13, but still fourth in the NL West.
Tonight, the Cardinals have to hand the ball to a struggling starting pitcher, Miles Mikolas with hopes that he and his 0-1 record and 7.46 ERA in five starts can fend off the sweep. The Giants counter with 1-4 Logan Webb with his 4.40 ERA.
Here are the odds for Game 4 between the Cardinals and Giants.
Cardinals vs. Giants odds, run line and total
Cardinals vs. Giants prediction and pick
When you try to diagnose the issues with the Cardinals it doesn’t take long to realize that their issues are run prevention much more than run scoring.
As a team they’re actually hitting the ball and getting on base regularly. The Cards are sixth in the MLB in team OPS, though they are 16th in runs scored. Nolan Arenado is off to a slow start with only a .662 OPS and just five extra base hits so far, but MVP, Paul Goldschmidt is hitting the ball really well and Wilson Contreras has been a nice addition to the lineup. With a team OPS so high, they’re going to score more runs, it’s almost fluky that they haven’t
However, they are 20th in starting pitcher ERA at 4.59 and allow an OPS of .793, so the unit's ERA should actually be a lot worse because that is 26th in baseball. Miles MIkolas is a very big part of the problem. Opponents have an OPS of 1.014 against Mikolas and he is fifth percentile in expected slugging percentage allowed. He’s been terrible, but the advanced numbers say that it might even get worse.
The Cardinals are in a bad spot, but the offense should be expecting some positive regression, and the pitching could get worse before it gets better, so I’m going to ride St. Louis overs for a little bit here.
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