Rangers at Cardinals Picks and MLB Series Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 6/21/2013
The allure of American League vs. National League baseball action may be gone now that these matchups have been integrated into the general schedule. But that doesn’t mean that baseball fans are still treated to the occasional intriguing interleague matchup.
Texas (41-32) heads to St. Louis (47-26) this weekend for a rematch of their thrilling 2011 World Series. The two teams are both still among the very best in their respective leagues, and this three-game set at Busch Stadium figures to be wrought with revenge overtones for the Rangers, who lost that 2011 title in heartbreaking fashion.
This is the first meeting between these two powerhouses since St. Louis took a 6-2 decision in Game 7 back in October of 2011.
Here is a deeper look at this week’s best baseball series, including a free MLB series prediction at the bottom:
Texas Rangers at St. Louis Cardinals Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: Rangers LHP Derek Holland (5-4, 3.30 ERA) vs. Cardinals RHP Tyler Lyons (2-3, 4.65 ERA)
Holland has been streaky. However, if the Rangers are going to start the series with anyone, it might as well be him. Holland is 21-5 when he starts Game 1 of a series, and he is 9-2 on Fridays. The Rangers are 36-15 in his last 51 starts and 6-2 in his last eight road starts. The lefty has gotten rocked in his last three starts, posting a 5.51 ERA and losing all three. But he did dominate them in that 2011 World Series, earning a 4-0 win in Game 4.
Lyons is a rookie and one of the young guns that has helped St. Louis to the best record in baseball. He has lost three straight starts, though, posting a 7.41 ERA as teams have been able to figure him out.
Saturday: Rangers LHP Martin Perez (0-1, 5.04 ERA) vs. Cardinals RHP Shelby Miller (8-4, 2.08 ERA)
Perez will be making a spot start here on Saturday in place of Nick Tepesch, who simply couldn’t keep his head above water. Perez is the top prospect in the Rangers organization, and the 22-year-old lefty has made seven career starts. He was mediocre in his last outing, a May 27 start against Arizona. But he has gone 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA in the minors since then and faces a Cardinals team that has been average against southpaws.
Miller left Monday’s game with cramping in his right leg, but he’s expected to start and have no problems. He has been dominant in his starts this year, posting eight wins in 12 starts and a scant 2.08 ERA. He has 96 strikeouts to just 19 walks this year and is a breathtaking 5-1 with a 0.99 ERA at home this year.
Sunday: Rangers RHP Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.84 ERA)vs. Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.37 ERA)
This is a matchup of aces and features two right-handers with some of the best stuff in the game. Darvish has actually lost his last three starts and five of his last six to make him one of the worst bets in baseball. But those losses have more to do with the Rangers lineup. Darvish has an amazing 137 strikeouts already this year (101 innings) and has posted six of nine quality starts.
Wainwright continues to be one of the best in baseball. He has an astronomical 10-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season. Wainwright is coming off a poor outing against the Cubs, allowing four runs in seven innings. But prior to that he had a stretch of eight straight quality starts. In a bit of a quirk, he is actually just 3-3 at home this year despite posting an absurd 1.91 ERA.
Texas Rangers at St. Louis Cardinals Betting Odds and Trends
The Cardinals have been installed as a hefty favorite to win this series, commanding -180 compared to Texas’ odds to win the series at +160. But, interestingly, the Game 1 odds aren’t nearly that skewed. St. Louis is -120 to take the first game behind Lyons. The Cardinals have also been installed as hefty -200 favorites in the second game thanks to the pitching change. Wainwright will be favored over Darvish in the finale.
The Rangers have actually been a pretty solid road team this year, going 19-17. Texas is just 3-7 in its last 10 games overall, and they are just 17-39 in their last 56 interleague games against a team that is above .500. However, they are 24-11 against National League Central teams, and the Rangers have been very good bouncing back after a loss; that’s something to keep in mind if they drop one of these three games.
St. Louis has won six of seven interleague games, and they are a sparkling 16-5 in their last 21 Game 1s in various series. St. Louis is 20-9 against the American League West, and they are 12-5 in their last 17 games against a team with a winning record. But the key things here are that St. Louis is 54-26 in its last 80 home games and 37-18 in their last 55 games overall. The Cardinals are obviously legit.
Rangers at Cardinals Picks and Betting Predictions
The Rangers may have revenge in this series, but they come into it playing about as poorly as we’ve seen them over the past three seasons. The Rangers just finished up a dreadful 11-game home stand in which they went just 4-7, getting swept in a four-game card against Toronto over the weekend. They had a player’s only meeting earlier this week and responded with a spirited 3-1 series win over rival Oakland to pull themselves back into the A.L. West race.
Can that momentum continue? St. Louis has been one of the best home teams in baseball this year, and they have been the best team in baseball. It’s tough to suggest that the Rangers can steal two of three in this one. But I would actually say that the Rangers are the play. Laying nearly 2-to-1 on the Cardinals here is not a strong value. Texas is able to throw its two best pitchers, Holland and Darvish, in this set. And if Darvish can get the better of Wainwright – no small feat – then I am confident that Texas can get one of the other games.
Perez is the X-Factor in this one. St. Louis has been vulnerable against lefties. And rookie pitchers are very unpredictable in spots like this. It’s a stretch to think he can go into Busch and dominate the Cards. But stranger things have happened, and this kid certainly comes to the Big Leagues with a lot of expectations.
I think Texas has more desperation in this game. Plus the added revenge factor for that World Series defeat. Bottom line: at +160 the play is definitely the Rangers in this series, if there’s a play at all. There has been some talk of pushing Darvish back and going with Tepesch on Sunday. If that’s the call then it is Cardinals all the way.
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Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
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