The St Louis Cardinals will be road warriors on Thursday when they face the Chicago Cubs. The key in this contest is the head-to-head history between the batters and the starting pitchers. Cubs starter Edwin Jackson has been roughed up mightily throughout his career against Cardinal hitters: as a team they have a combined .330 batting average (and a .524 slugging percentage) against him. Another big issue for Jackson in this contest is how much he’s struggled at Wrigley Field. His home ERA is 6.07, which is quite a bit worse than what he’s delivered on the road (4.94 ERA).
In contrast, St. Louis pitcher Jake Westbrook has pitched very well against Cubs players. Chicago batters have mustered just a .216 batting average (and a .261 slugging percentage) against Westbrook lifetime. While he has faltered lately (5.73 ERA in his past two starts), the Cardinals' potent line-up, which ranks first in the National League in runs per game, should have him covered even if he doesn’t perform at his best. Take the Cardinals at 1.82
The Tampa Bay Rays’ Matt Moore will ride considerable momentum into his home start against the Minnesota Twins, and shoule help his club capture the win. Moore, who is 12-3 this season with a 3.42 ERA, has been dominant over his past three starts. In that stretch he’s given up just one run in 20 1/3 innings and struck out 26 batters. Facing a team with a winning percentage under .500 should suit Moore well: he’s 5-1 with a 2.88 ERA against subpar teams (although he’s 7-2 against winners, his ERA balloons to 3.79 in those situations).
Twins starter Mike Pelfrey is enduring a horrible season: he’s 4-6 with a bloated 5.63 ERA. He has lasted more than six innings just once in 15 starts, which means the Twins bullpen will likely play a role in this game. Minnesota’s relief corps has given up the second-most runs per game of any American League team this season. The Rays, on at 1.45, are the pick.