Take St Louis-Miami OVER (#955-956)
The Cardinals lineup is absolutely, positively on fire right now, pounding out 30 runs and 41 hits in their three game set at KC over the weekend. Here's a quote from Carlos Beltran, coming off an eight RBI weekend, talking about how the team had snapped out of their short term offensive slump: “We know we're a good offensive team that's going to be able to score runs. It's good to see guys getting healthy and swinging the bat a lot better."
The Cards are the highest scoring team in the NL this year, and they're poised for success tonight against struggling Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco is 2-6 with a 7.36 ERA over his last eight trips to the hill. He's coming off an absolute drubbing at the hands of the Red Sox in his last start (nine runs in 3.1 innings) and his track record against this St Louis lineup is awful: 0-4 with a 6.62 ERA in six previous outings against them. Behind Nolasco, the Miami bullpen's collective 4.73 ERA ranks #29 out of 30 MLB teams this year, always capable of a late inning meltdown.
But it's not like the Cards have an elite level bullpen this year either – they rank #23 in ERA and have 12 blown saves and 13 losses this season. The pen certainly isn't fresh off Lance Lynn's rough outing yesterday, forcing five relievers into action. That could be a real problem tonight, because starter Jake Westbrook is coming off an intense 113 pitch complete game at Detroit, the first time in his last 22 outings that he's lasted more than seven innings.
It's surely worth noting that that last time Westrbrook threw more than 110 pitches, he got lit up by the light hitting Cubs in his next start. It was a similar story following that outing 23 starts ago when he threw 118 pitches in eight innings against the Brewers. His next start following that appearance was downright ugly, lit up by the light hitting Pirates. Following a closed door, player's only meeting on Saturday following the game, Miami pounded out nine runs yesterday, reaching the total by themselves. No surprise here if we see a similar level of offensive success today. Take the Over.