St. Louis Cardinals (23-21) at Texas Rangers (19-22)
MLB: Friday, May 17th, 2019 at 8:05 pm (Global Life Park)
Line and Odds: St. Louis Cardinals -143/Texas Rangers +129 Over/Under: 11.5
Free ESPN MLB Picks Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals batting lineup has been pretty potent this season. They average 5.05 runs per game, which ranks them 10th in Major League Baseball in scoring. Their batting average of .258 ranks 5th-best in all of baseball. The Cardinals rank 7th in hits per game and walks per game. St. Louis is 4th in the MLB with a .341 on-base percentage. Their slugging percentage of .423 is 15th-best and their OPS of .765 is 11th-best. The Cardinals strike out in 21.2% of their plate appearances, ranking 7th in strikeout percentage. Their batters walk in 10.0% of their plate appearances, ranking 7th in walk percentage. They have a batting average of balls in play of .305 which places them 8th in baseball. In general, the Cardinals struggle when it comes to racking up extra bases. They rank 19th in isolated power, 18th in home run percentage, and 20th in extra base hit percentage. Their offensive production comes from a variety of sources. SS Paul DeJong leads the Cardinals with a .542 slugging percentage and .948 OPS. OF Dexter Fowler leads the team in on-base percentage (.410). LF Marcell Ozuna leads with 13 home runs and 38 RBI.
St. Louis’ defensive and pitching numbers are not quite as consistent as their offensive numbers. The Cardinals give up 4.61 runs per game, ranking 15th in runs allowed. Their pitchers force their opponents into hitting a .237 batting average, which ranks 10th in Major League Baseball. They rank 9th in hits per game allowed, giving up 7.84 hits per game. St. Louis’ strongest defensive number is their batting average on balls in play allowed. Their opponents’ BABIP is .274, which is 4th-best in baseball. However, they struggle when it comes to giving up home runs. Their opponents’ home run percentage is 27th in MLB, giving up a home run on 4.1% of their opponents’ plate appearances. They are 21st in opponents’ slugging percentage, 15th in opponents’ on-base percentage, and 16th in opponents’ OPS. St. Louis is 26th in opponents’ isolated power (extra bases/hit) and 23rd in opponents’ walk percentage. The Cardinals will send Miles Mikolas to the mound as today’s starting pitcher. He has broken out as the best starter on the Cardinals’ staff. Mikolas has pitched 54 innings on 9 starts. He has a 3.83 ERA, a 1.056 WHIP, and a 35 to 10 strikeout to walk ratio. He leads the Cardinals’ starting staff in fewest hits, home runs, and walks given up per 9 innings.
An solid argument could be made that the Texas Rangers have the most powerful lineup in all of baseball. The Rangers rank 1st in scoring, putting up 5.85 runs per game. They average 8.76 hits per game, ranking 5th-best in Major League Baseball. Texas ranks 5th in total bases acquired per game (15.93). The Rangers excel in almost every aspect of offensive baseball. They are 4th in slugging percentage (.462), 6th in on-base percentage (.338), and 3rd in OPS (.801). Texas ranks 4th in both batting average on balls in play and isolated power. The Rangers hit home runs on 4.0% of their plate appearances, ranking 7th in home run percentage. They secure walks on 10.3% of their plate appearances, ranking 8th in walk percentage. The only problem Texas seems to have at the plate is their high strikeout rate. Texas strikes out on 25.3% of their plate appearances, ranking 24th in strikeout percentage. They secure extra bases, hit home runs, grind out hits upon contact, walk at a high rate, and most importantly, score a ton of runs. The Rangers’ offense is lead by LF Joey Gallo. He leads the Rangers with 13 home runs, 31 RBI, a .654 slugging percentage, and a 1.065 OPS. DH Hunter Pence is 2nd on the team in each of those 4 categories. SS Elvis Andrus leads the team with a .325 batting average, but he is currently on the 10-day IL and will not be playing. 1B Logan Forsythe is 2nd in batting average and 1st on the team in on base percentage.
As impressive as their offensive numbers are, their defensive numbers are quite the opposite. The Texas Rangers allow 5.59 runs per game, ranking 28th in the MLB. They allow opponents to hit .278, which ranks last in opponents’ batting average. Their WHIP is 1.554, which also ranks last in baseball. Texas ranks last in strikeouts per 9 innings, as well as hits allowed per 9 innings. Their defense is 28th in slugging percentage, 30th in opponents’ on-base percentage, and 29th in opponents’ OPS. Their pitchers get strikeouts on just 18.9% of their opponents’ plate appearances, ranking 30th in baseball. The Rangers’ defense is also 29th in opponents’ batting average on balls in play. The Texas pitching staff has the 29th-best earned run average (5.29), and the league’s worst strikeout to walk ratio (1.82). Since Drew Smyly is out with an ankle injury, 25 year-old pitcher Jose Leclerc is the starting pitcher in today’s game. This is interesting because Leclerc is officially listed as the team’s closer. He has appeared in 17 games, finishing out 10 of them, and leading the team with 5 saves. Leclerc has pitched just 15 and 2/3 innings in 17 appearances. He has an ERA of 6.32 in this year’s relatively small sample size. Jose Leclerc has a WHIP of 1.787 and strikeout to walk ratio of 22-to-13 (1.69).
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
St. Louis are 1-5 SU in their last 6 games.
St. Louis are 0-6 SU in their last 6 games against Texas.
St. Louis are 1-6 SU in their last 7 games on the road.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Texas’ last 7 games at home.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Texas’ last 6 games when playing at home against St. Louis.
Texas are 2-5 SU in their last 7 games this season.
ESPN MLB Scores St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
I like the St. Louis Cardinals in this matchup. Texas certainly has the offensive firepower to win this game, but I do not trust their arms to contain the Cardinals’ lineup. St. Louis’ offense is not able to score in the way Texas does, but they are a formidable in their own right. Texas has seen their starters, bullpen, and fielders all struggle this season. Texas is damaged even further from a rotation perspective because their closer will be the starting pitcher due to injury. I also like the situation for the Cardinals. St. Louis is coming off of an embarrassing 10-2 loss to Atlanta, while Texas is riding high from a 16-1 beatdown of the Kansas City Royals. In a marathon sport like baseball, I see opportunities to bet on teams coming off of bad losses because they tend to bounce back. Take St. Louis -143.
St. Louis Cardinals -143