First place San Francisco is on a roll, while St. Louis tries to build on recent momentum and match how well the Giants have been playing in this collusion of talented clubs near the Mississippi River.
Manager Bruce Boche’s crew has won 17 of 21 to open up the 5.5-game lead in the NL West. The Cardinals have won four of last six on the road and pulled to within 1.5-games of second place Pittsburgh in the NL Central.
As good as San Fran has been playing, St. Louis has a superior run differential (+58 to +28) and tonight we have an exceptional pitching matchup.
This MLB handicapper has hit six in a row here for MLB picks, taking record to 15-9 and is No.3 in baseball at TheSportEye.com monitor. Let’s delve into this intriguing matchup.
After appearing quite vulnerable in picking up World Series ring with Kansas City, Johnny Cueto (8-1, 2.31 ERA) has returned to previous form and has a minuscule 0.92 ERA over his last seven starts, all San Francisco victories. The right-hander seems more comfortable in his new role of No. 2 starter behind Madison Bumgarner and is expertly spotting his fastball around the strike zone and has the biting slider again along always deceptive change-up. One issue for this contest, Cueto has 5.71 ERA at Busch Stadium and he’s lost five of past six decisions to the Redbirds.
Adam Wainwright (5-3, 5.71) feels he turned a corner is his three recent starts. In his first eight outings of the year, his ERA was the worst of his career at 6.80, as the righty’s velocity was down on fastball and cutter and usual command of nasty curve was off. In Wainwright’s last trio of trips to the bump, his ERA is at 3.40. The decrease in velocity had hitters sitting on fastball and they batted .330. In the three starts since, they are at .247 batting average. Still, not everything is right, having given up three home runs last Saturday in Washington in 9-4 victory.
The San Francisco offense has not had to do a great deal during this hot streak, with domineering starting pitching. However, of late, the Giants have averaged five runs per contest in their last nine tries and this diverse collection of hitters has clutch hitters and down the lineup and is fourth in on-base percentage at .333, right behind St. Louis in the NL.