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June 1, 2017

There is one baseball pick this afternoon. We are passing on Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Take St. Louis Cardinals (+107) on the ML against LA Dodgers risking 3% to win 3.21%.
(Wainwright and McCarthy must start for wager to have action)

Sometimes a narrow 1-run victory especially when a team didn't play particularly well is extremely valuable! That's because it does wonders for the collective confidence of a ball club and give them reason to believe that they can compete. For a team like the Cardinals, whom, despite their storied history are having a mediocre season so far with plenty of doubters, such wins are huge! Manager Mike Matheny recognized that when he described Dexter Fowler's HR shot in the 8th inning of last night's game the 'shot in the arm that they badly needed'. We don't disagree with him. He knows what his squad needed from a psychological aspect more than anything and yesterday's 'W' is the confidence-booster they required.

Not only did they win a tight game in dramatic fashion late on but they did it in front of 40,000 passionate fans at Busch Stadium. A venue where fans have come to expect victories over the years but have been a bit disappointed recently. What made it a bigger achievement is that they did it against a rival in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers. LA currently boasts the the second best record in the NL and was riding a big winning streak heading into last night. They had handled the Cards in California last week before also winning the first two games of this series in St. Louis! Now, however, the Cardinals have a chance to even up this 4-game series at 2 games a piece and produce a winning streak of their own. As if they needed any more motivation, a victory this afternoon would see them climb above a .500 record while a defeat would see them once again fall below a mediocre tally!

Brandon McCarthy and Adam Wainwright are both veteran hurlers capable of recording quality starts. 'Waino' as he's affectionally called by the St. Louis faithful, however, has a personality that is more suited to this particular occasion. He's no longer the most talented pitcher on the mound, but he's still a winner and as determined as they come. He's spent 12 years with this ball club and is set to make his 331st career appearance on the hill, moving him into sole possession of 10th spot in franchise history! He's feeling confident right now after allowing just 1 run over his last 3 starts (20 innings) and will relish the opportunity to pitch in the series finale. 

The Dodgers still don't have Joc Pederson's big bat in the lineup and that means Chris Taylor will likely be manning center-field once again. While a good defender, he doesn't pose a big offensive threat. Everyday catcher Yasmani Grandal is also likely to get the day off and last but not least Logan Forsythe is not in the lineup. The latter is a very composed customer at the plate and finds a way to get on-base whether it's through walks or hits. It took him a bit of time to get used to his new environment in LA after spending a few years in Tampa but he's finally found his groove and will be missed offensively and defensely in this contest. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have pretty much their best lineup out there today which signals the coaching staff's intention of winning this game at all costs. Given that everyone in their bullpen, expect the closer got the day off yesterday, they will be ready to be called upon in relief of Wainwright. Look for them to win this game in what we believe is a false favorite situation.

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