Mets at Cardinals Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/15/2013
Unfortunately, the baseball gods weren't smiling upon fans of good pitching in this week's Mets-Cardinals four-game series at Busch Stadium. I say this because Major League Baseball purists are being deprived of seeing arguably the two most exciting young pitchers in the game face off in Mets 24-year-old right-hander Matt Harvey and Cardinals 22-year-old righty Shelby Miller.
Two starts ago, Harvey threw nine shutout innings and struck out 12 White Sox in a dominant performance -- yet he got a no-decision as the Mets won in 10 innings. The All-Star Game is at Citi Field this season, and I would have to think Harvey is an early leading candidate to start for the National League. Unfortunately, Harvey last pitched Sunday, so his turn won't come around until Friday. Miller will start Wednesday night's game against the Mets, and he was flat-out filthy last time out, allowing a leadoff single to the Rockies and then retiring 27 straight batters while striking out 13 (a whopping eight looking). Miller is probably your leading candidate for NL Rookie of the Year only because Harvey is technically ineligible by pitching 59 innings last season. The limit is 50 to maintain rookie status.
Mets at Cardinals Betting Story Lines
Miller's outing was the first one-hitter thrown by a Cardinal since Chris Carpenter in 2009. Miller (5-2, 1.58) matched his career high with 113 pitches and now has a career ERA of 1.39 through eight starts (one at end of last year), which is the lowest for any Cardinals pitcher through his first eight starts in 72 years. Miller was the third rookie in history to allow just one hit and strike out 13 or more in a complete-game victory -- the most famous example of this was the Cubs' Kerry Wood when he struck out 20 in a one-hitter against Houston on May 6, 1998, in the best pitching performance I've ever seen.
Boston's Jon Lester also threw a one-hitter with no walks last Friday, marking the first time in the modern era two pitchers have done that the same day. How nasty is Miller's fastball? He has held batters to a .192 batting average in at-bats ending in his fastball. Miller has held the opposition to three or fewer runs in all seven starts this season. Cardinals starters lead the majors in ERA by almost a full run. Miller threw two innings against the Mets in 2012 and didn't allow a run, striking out four. Only five Mets have even a single at-bat against him.
So would you like to know how weak the Mets outfield is? They signed a guy cut by the Astros. That would be former Cardinals phenom Rick Ankiel. He was dumped by the truly wretched Astros after batting .194 with five homers, 11 RBI and 35 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. He has missed on 42 percent of his swings this season, worst in the majors. Ankiel made his debut in Monday's 6-3 loss to St. Louis and was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Ankiel will platoon with rookie Juan Lagares in center field, with Ankiel starting against right-handed pitchers.
The Mets were a decent surprise after about 20 games but now are becoming what everyone expected. They had lost four straight entering Tuesday's game against the Cards. The team also apparently has lost lefty reliever Scott Atchison for a while. He gave up a two-run homer on Monday and said afterward he was with dealing numbness in his fingers related to a torn elbow ligament discovered last year. He has a 4.50 ERA in 19 appearances.
New York starts Shaun Marcum on Wednesday, and he's been a disaster at 0-3 with an 8.59 ERA. He allowed six runs and nine hits in just 4.2 innings last time out against Pittsburgh and is the first Mets pitcher to ever last fewer than five innings in each of his first three starts with the team. Last year with Milwaukee, Marcum started once against the Cardinals and got a no-decision, allowing four runs and eight hits in five innings. Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday will be happy to see Marcum as Holliday is hitting .333 with two homers in 12 at-bats against him. Carlos Beltran also has a homer off Marcum.
Mets at Cardinals MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Cardinals opened at -200 and the Mets +185 with the total at 7.5. All trends entering Tuesday: The Mets are 23-11-1 “over/under” (11-2-1 on road) and 13-22 on the runline. The Cardinals are 18-18-1 O/U (8-8 at home) and 21-16 on the runline.
The Mets are 5-2 in their past seven Wednesday games. New York is 0-8 in its past eight against right-handed starters. The Cardinals have won 10 of their past 12 overall. They are 18-6 in their past 24 home games against righty starters. The over is 7-1-1 in the Mets' past nine road games against righty starters. The under is 16-7 in the Mets' past 23 Game 3s of a series. The under is 5-1 in Miller's past six starts. The over is 7-1 in the past eight meetings in St. Louis.
Mets at Cardinals Picks and Betting Predictions
The Mets just aren't hitting. Entering Tuesday, they hadn't scored more than three runs in their past seven games. Catcher John Buck (.225, 10 homers, 29 RBI) started the season like gangbusters, but he's come crashing back to earth with just two hits in his past 25 at-bats and no homers or RBI. I can't see the Mets getting more than a couple against Miller, while Marcum may allow that in the first inning. Take the Cards and the under.
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