Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the St. Louis Cardinals, on at 1.50, at home to prevail over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This Monday contest provides a preferable pitching matchup in a contest between two otherwise pretty evenly matched teams.
The difference maker here is St. Louis gets the luxury of sending their ace Adam Wainwright to the pitcher’s mound in this game. His eleven wins leads the National League and that number hasn’t come as a fluke. He owns a sterling 1.89 ERA in his seventeen starts. As of late, he’s been particularly good. In his past four starts, he has a magnificent 0.59 ERA.
Despite having posted a 3.30 ERA through 17 starts, Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton does not get a good draw here. The right-hander has struggled on the road, posting a 2-6 record and a 4.37 ERA. Even more to the point for this contest is his track record against Cardinals hitters. In 176 lifetime plate appearances, St. Louis batters own a .333 batting average, .405 on base percentage and a .438 slugging percentage. These are all robust offensive numbers.
Squeeze Play (Gutsiest call)
Take the Miami Marlins, at 1.95 to win on the road at the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While the odds always account for home field advantage, don’t expect the Diamondbacks to benefit from it here. No team has been more miserable at their own ballpark than the Diamondbacks. They have a 15-30 record at Chase Field. The Marlins have been comparably weak overall on the road (15-23), but in their most recent away games, the team has gone 5-5, which, under the circumstance of their competition, gives them the advantage.
In truth, what is the tipping point in favor of the Marlins are their advantage in starting pitching and the lineups for this clash. Tom Koehler gets the assignment for Miami. The right-handers has a solid 3.48 ERA and has been sharp in his past two outings (1.20 ERA). Diamondbacks starter Chase Anderson began the season very well and his 3.91 ERA reflects that. But the league has caught up to him. In his past four outings, the rookie has a 5.03 ERA, and it’s been even worse his last two times out when he’s gone 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA.
Finally, from a batting perspective, the Marlins rank third (out of fifteen teams) in the NL in runs scored per game, while the Diamondbacks are below the league average.