It was a great first half for the Miami Marlins, but they’re on a five-game losing skid out of the All-Star break and now sit at 53-44 after the loss last night. The St. Louis Cardinals are the exact opposite. It was a disastrous first half, but they’re 4-1 out of the break to get to 42-53 and out of last place in the NL Central after a walk-off win last night.
To pull off the sweep, the Cardinals will need a strong start out of Dakota Hudson who has yet to start a game this season and is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four appearances. The Marlins will counter with 3-8 Sandy Alcantara and his 4.64 ERA. It’s the series finale and the surging Cardinals are favored at home.
Marlins vs. Cardinals odds, run line and total
Marlins vs. Cardinals prediction and pick
This was bound to happen to the Marlins. They massively overachieved in the first half of the season and now the regression is starting to hit. I’m not sure however, that I saw this strong of a stretch coming for the St. Louis Cardinals. They’re out of last place and are finally getting the pitching that they desperately needed.
Speaking of pitching, this will be an interesting test for Dakota Hudson. He has yet to start, but last time out he went 3.1 innings and allowed no runs on four hits. That’s a good amount of traffic in a short outing, but with such a small sample it’s really hard to know what the Cardinals will be getting out of Hudson who had a 4.45 ERA in 26 starts last year.
However, I do think I know what I’m getting from the St. Louis lineup. In the last 30 days the Cardinals are third in team OPS at .812 and are 12th in runs scored. In July, Nolan Arenado, who was the hero last night, has a 1.194 OPS with five home runs and seven doubles. Willson Contreras has a 1.419 OPS this month with three homers and four doubles. Their big names are starting to rack up extra base hits and this team is finally playing to its talent level.
That talent level is much higher than Miami’s. I have some belief that Sandy Alcantara will have a much better second half and his last three starts have all been solid, but the Marlins have lost all three. The wheels are coming off in Miami, so let’s take the Cardinals.
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