Cincinnati (Reed) at St. Louis (Wacha) O/U 8.5
Recommendation: St. Louis -1.5 +105
Not quite ready to sell St. Louis yet despite their overwhelming inconsistencies and current 2-6 streak. The “cornered animal” metaphor fits the Cardinals pretty well tonight as they begin a three game home set with the NL Central last place Reds. Michael Wacha recovered after a brutal first inning last week against Cincinnati and expect to see an outing here more like his 2nd-5th inning stretch where he allowed 0 runs and only two baserunners. Wacha has dominated Cincinnati the past two seasons posting a 1.74 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in five starts against them. He is 4-0 in those games and St. Louis is 5-0. Keeping Reds speedster Billy Hamilton off the bases (21 steals and 15 runs scored since the All-Star Break) will be key for Wacha who has owned Hamilton in their matchups. In 20 ABs against Wacha, Hamilton has one hit and one walk. Joey Votto (1.073 OPS) and Zack Cosart (1.200 OPS) have been the toughest on Wacha and each have 20+ ABs. For St. Louis offensively, seeing lefty Cody Reed again so quickly (he faced Wacha in the Cards' 5-4 win last week) figures to be a favorable matchup. St. Louis got to Reed for five runs and eight hits in 5 IP and I'm not sure he can make enough adjustments especially since he’ll face Cards leadoff man Matt Carpenter for the first time. Pitch count for the young lefty means plenty of the below average Reds bullpen which should be minus bright spot Raul Iglesias in this one. St. Louis relief corps owns significant edge in this contest. Not sure the Cincinnati lineup which still possesses only one starter with an OBP over .314 is as good as it’s been in the second half so will look to fade them some especially in situations where it looks like Hamilton can be kept off the bases. Short board to choose from tonight but willing to take a shot on the run line at +105 with the currently unpopular Cardinals.