There’s still plenty of work to do for the St. Louis Cardinals, but after winning their weekend series with the Nationals they are 11.5 games back in the NL Central at 40-53 and could make a case to keep the team together past the trade deadline.
It’ll take a very good two weeks and they could have a good matchup to get it started with the 53-42 Miami Marlins in town for three games. The Marlins were swept by Baltimore this weekend.
For Game 1 of this series, Miami will send lefty Jesus Luzardo to the mound to make his 20th start of the season against Miles Mikolas who will make his 21st for St. Louis.
Luzardo is 8-5 with a 3.29 ERA while Mikolas comes in at 5-5 with a 4.12 ERA.
Marlins vs. Cardinals odds, run line and total
Marlins vs. Cardinals prediction and pick
The Cardinals and Marlins just had a series at the start of July and in the game that Jesus Luzardo pitched, it went pretty well for Miami. Luzardo went six scoreless with eight strikeouts, two walks, and five hits in a 15-2 Miami win.
Mikolas pitched the day prior and gave up four runs on four hits with two Ks and two walks in 6.1 innings. Miami took three of four in that series and looked like the clearly superior team.
Since that series, the Marlins are 2-4 and the Cardinals are 4-2, but don’t let that fool you. Miami had to play the Philadelphia Phillies and then went to Baltimore for three games on the road. That’s a lot tougher than the Chicago White Sox in Chicago and Washington Nationals at home.
The starting pitching matchup is interesting because both pitchers have been pitching really well. Jesus Luzardo has a 1.14 ERA with a 34.2% strikeout rate and a 6.67 K/BB ratio over his last five starts.
He’s been incredible for a significant stretch and Mikolas has been very good for a short stretch, just 10 innings of scoreless ball with four hits and no walks headed into the break.
I trust Luzardo more on the mound, but even if they’re both great I still give the edge to Miami because St. Louis is 25th in bullpen ERA and the Marlins are 17th.
Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldscmidt are always threats to knock around a lefty, but even with those two the Cardinals are just 15th in OPS against lefties. I lean Miami, but I’ll trust what we saw from Luzardo and Mikolas before the break and take the under in Game 1.
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