Cardinals at Cubs Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 7/13/2013
I guarantee you that Cubs management will be holding its breath on Saturday when red-hot pitcher Matt Garza takes the mound against the visiting Cardinals. Why? Garza is clearly the top pitcher available on the trade market. However, he does have a history of injury. So Theo Epstein and Co. are rolling the dice the longer they wait. No team has met the Cubs' high price yet, although many believe Texas will be Garza's eventual destination. Supposedly the Giants, Dodgers, Rangers, Indians, Pirates, Blue Jays and Padres all had scouts at Garza's last start on Monday. I'd be a bit surprised if this isn't his last start in a Cubs uniform. GMs will have the whole all-star break to work things out. One theory of why teams are holding off is they want to see what the suspension fallout is from that Biogenesis mess. That's supposed to come down right after the break, although with the appeals process it could drag on for months.
The Cardinals are another team rumored after Garza, although the Cubs rarely like helping out their top rivals. St. Louis' farm system is stacked, so that probably trumps trading with a rival. But the Cards' top trade priority might be for a shortstop. Pete Kozma was a pleasant surprise in 26 games in 2012, hitting .333. This season he's at .232 entering Friday's Game 2 of the Cards-Cubs series. He's 0-for-14 in July and has often been replaced by Daniel Descalso. Manager Mike Matheny says Kozma is still his guy. ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting a potential deal to get Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera. The two-time All-Star would make the National League's top offense scary good.
Cardinals at Cubs Betting Story Lines
Don't look now, but the Cubs are pretty competitive. Thursday's 3-0 win over St. Louis in the opener was Chicago's 10th win in the past 15 games. The Cubs have gone 6-2-1 in their last nine series. This team would be well over .500 if not for 18 blown saves. The vast majority of those came before Kevin Gregg took over at closer; he's also on the market, with Atlanta a favorite to land Gregg. Gregg has converted 16 of 18 save opportunities since signing in April. Set-up man Pedro Strop has been terrific since being acquired in the Scott Feldman trade from Baltimore.
Garza (5-1, 3.22) had his fifth straight stellar start in Monday's win over the White Sox, allowing just an earned run over seven innings. He has allowed a combined four earned runs over his past five starts. Garza hasn't faced St. Louis this season and is 2-1 with a 4.22 ERA against the Cards in his career. Matt Holliday has hit Garza well with a .333 average in 18 at-bats. But it would be an upset if Holliday plays on Saturday. He left Thursday's game with a tight right hamstring, and I'm pretty confident the Cardinals will sit him until after the break. That would mean Allen Craig would move to left field and Matt Adams would take over at first (that's what happened Friday). There's really no reason not to rest Holliday for the next week in order to avoid a DL stint. David Freese is the only Cardinal with a homer off Garza.
St. Louis counters with righty Lance Lynn (11-3, 3.67), who certainly deserved all-star consideration. He got his first win since June 20 last time out, allowing two runs and seven hits in seven innings against the Marlins. He and Adam Wainwright both have double-digit wins for St. Louis, the first time the Cards will have had two pitchers with at least 10 wins at the break since 1985. Lynn has faced the Cubs twice this year and pitched well in both. On May 7 at Wrigley, he allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings, although St. Louis lost. On June 20 in a 6-1 win at Busch Stadium, Lynn allowed one earned run and three hits over six innings. Alfonso Soriano, who is really swinging a hot bat, is batting .318 in 19 career at-bats off Lynn. Anthony Rizzo is at .273 with a homer and three RBI.
Cardinals at Cubs Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline the Cardinals are -120 and the Cubs +110 with the total at 7.5. All trends entering Friday: The Cardinals are 46-41-3 “over/under” (25-20-2 on road) and 47-43 on the runline. Chicago is 43-43-4 O/U (24-19-2 at home) and 55-35 on the runline.
The Cardinals are 5-2 in their past seven Saturday games. St. Louis is 5-0 in Lynn's past five in Game 3 of a series. The Cardinals are 9-4 in Lynn's past 13 road starts. The Cubs are 4-1 in their past five Game 3s of a series. The Cubs are 4-1 in Garza's past five home starts. Chicago is 3-7 in Garza's past 10 against the NL Central and 2-5 in his past seven Saturday starts. The under is 6-1 in Lynn's past seven road starts against a team with a losing record. The under is 4-1 in Garza's past five home starts. The Cardinals are 5-1 in Lynn's past six against the Cubs.
Cardinals at Cubs Picks and Betting Predictions
I have this sneaking suspension that Cardinals catcher and NL batting leader Yadier Molina might get this game off. It's a tough matchup against Garza, and Molina has been battling a knee injury. Of late, he has rested after a stretch of four games, which came Friday when he was in the lineup. I like the Cubs here regardless but especially so if Molina is also out. Take the under.
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