May 23, 2015 (Posted at 2:00 PM ET)
Sunday's picks will be posted at noon (12:00 PM ET).
Take St. Louis Cardinals (+107) as underdogs on the Money Line against KC Royals risking 3%.
(Lackey and Volquez must start for wager to have action)
This is the middle game of the I-70 series rivalry. Even though these two teams play in different leagues, there is still a local Missouri rivalry at play here. The Cardinals lost the series opener 5-0 last night and got shutout for the 2nd straight game having also lost 5-0 also to Mets in the 4th and final game of that series. It’s rare to find Mike Matheny and his ambitious squad off back to back losses let alone back to back shutouts! They are also not a team that we expect to see on a three game losing streak. This is a roster with character and determination and they're often at their best off a defeat than when cruising that's evident by their 9-5 record this season and 106-58 record over the last 3 years after a loss. They are a team that tends to bounce back much better than others and have the heart of champion veterans and that’s what we expect them to do tonight.
This should be a great game for the fans as it pits the current #1 team in AL facing off against current #1 team in NL! While it will likely be a close game, we feel the value lies with the underdogs since they are capable of winning this and in fact have several edges. Cardinals are 22-10 against right-handed starters this season! They hit righties much better than they do lefties and will likely be relieved to see Edinson Volquez on the mound instead of Southpaw Danny Duffy. Volquez was not originally scheduled to start today's game but Duffy's injury forced him into the starting role tonight with Ventura pitching the series finale tomorrow. The Cardinal's bats have had success against Volquez in the past while that isn't true against Duffy so this is a welcomed change on the mound. Volquez being a rescheduled starter for this one puts him at a disadvantage since he wasn't originally expecting to start this game and won't have the normal amount of days of 'rest' for this outing. After struggling mightily to start the season, he was great in his last outing against the Yankees but we don't expect that to carry over tonight.
For St Louis, veteran John Lackey continues to impress and with Adam Wainwright out for the season, he and others have stepped up. Both teams have great bullpens so it'll likely come down to Lackey vs. Volquez to determine which side gets local bragging rights and we believe John Lackey has the edge tonight. He's been terrific in his recent appearances. He's lasted at least 7 innings in half of his 8 starts and has given up 1 or less earned runs in 3 of his last 4 outings! He has allowed just 5 runs in 26 innings in the month of May!
The Cardinals themselves have been great in the month of May over the last 3 seasons and we expect them to end it on a high. They are 47-28 in the month of May over the last 3 seasons! Meanwhile the Royals have been a poor bet on Saturdays and could be complacent tonight after winning 4 in a row coming in to this contest and having beaten the Cards easily last night. Last night's 5-0 final score line was somewhat deceiving and in reality was a much more closely contested game with one team having 8 hits and the other 11. It was 2 homeruns by Kendrys Morales that drove in all 5 runs and made it a dominant score line. The Cardinals did get men on base and did have them in scoring position; however, their undoing was going 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position! We don’t expect that to continue tonight. This is a team with clutch hitters who've been in most pressure-heavy matchups before and we don't expect them to choke two nights in a row against local rivals they left 13 men on base overall in last night's outing and we don't expect them to be as wasteful tonight.
Kauffman stadium should have an electric atmosphere tonight but we believe the edge lies with the live underdogs who will be motivated to even the series. Despite last night's defeat, the Cardinals have won 8 of their last 10 visits to Kauffman stadium and are more than capable of winning in Kansas City. Both teams have great bullpens so it'll likely come down to Lackey vs. Volquez to determine which side gets local bragging rights and we believe John Lackey has the edge tonight. He's been terrific in his recent appearances and has lasted at least 7 innings in half of his 8 starts and has given up 1 or less earned runs in 3 of his last 4 outings! The Cardinals have been dangerous as underdogs and with Lackey on the mound tonight in this situation, we believe the value lies with the road team as they pull out a closely contested victory.
Other notable facts to consider:
- St Louis is 22-10 against right-handed starters this season!
- Royals are just 15-25 in home games in May games over the last 3 seasons.
- Cardinals have won 8 of their last 10 visits to Kansas City.
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