August 29, 2015 (Posted at 2:00 PM ET)
Take St. Louis Cardinals on the Money Line (-110) against SF Giants risking 3.3% of the bankroll to win 3%.
(Lynn and Vogelsong must start for wager to have action)
The Giants have been hot recently but are dealing with a number of key injuries heading into this afternoon game and find themselves in a challenging spot. The Cardinals aren't a club that is used to losing consecutive games. They often bounce back from defeats and step up extra determined and focused in the following contest. That's what we have come to expect from Mike Matheny's club and what we envision happening today. Despite trailing 4-0, St. Louis rallied and completed the comeback tying the game up before rookie Tomlinson hit a walk-off single in the 9th to give Bruce Bochy's squad a 5-4 victory last night. The Cards showed a lot of heart and tenacity coming back from such a big deficit, especially since they were down because of a Grand Slam homer by Marlon Byrd after a couple of fielding errors!
St. Louis isn't the type of team that makes many errors. Michael Wacha was the victim of such miscues on Friday when he gave up 4 unearned runs. We expect the defense to be fully focused on the task at hand and help out Lance Lynn who should have the edge on the mound opposite of veteran Ryan Vogelsong. The experienced righty is a mediocre starting pitcher and past his best. Lynn, on the other hand while not exceptional is a craftier hurler than most give him credit for and had it not been for poor run support, he would have a much better win-loss record than he currently sports. His ERA is less than 3 on the season and he has made a habit of bouncing from defeats.
Ryan Vogelsong is a consumate professional and has worked as both a reliever and a starter this season. He is a versatile team player but that doesn't change the fact that Cardinal bats have hit him pretty hard in the past and are likely to do so again! Jason Heyward, Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta are all batting over .300 against him and could give him fits again. The 38-year old continues to do what is asked of him but St. Louis has revenge in mind, not only to make up for yesterday but to get further payback for last year's playoffs. Let's not forget that the Cards have been the best team in baseball all season long and yet will not want to give this San Fran squad any hope, knowing firsthand what they are capable of in the post-season.
As if missing Joe Panik, Angel Pagan and inspirational leader Hunter Pence was not bad enough, the Giants are likely to be without two of their best players in All-Star catcher Buster Posey and short-stop Brandon Crawford! Cardinals have had their own injury issues but they still have the spine of their team on the field whereas San Franciso is missing its leaders. Meanwhile the likes of Matt Duffy are likely to play but even he is nursing a few injuries and is not at 100%. This is a depleted squad that will no doubt battle but we believe they'll fall short as St. Louis evens the series to set up an intriguing rubber match for prime time TV on Sunday.
The Cards should have the edge on the mound, in defense and with their bats tonight. This is a small price to pay for the better team when they are in bounce back mode! Matheny's squad is undervalued in this contest and should be priced steeper. While it is true that closer, Trevor Rosenthal is on the paternity list and will be unavailable for this series, we don't believe that'll be an issue. Lynn faced the Giants just eleven days ago but took the loss despite having a quality start in which he gave up only 2 runs. We believe his teammates will make up for that and give him proper run support against a hittable pitcher in Vogelsong who lasted less than 4 innings in his last outing.
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