Matchup: St. Louis Cardinals at Baltimore Orioles
Date/Time: August 9, 4:05 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: STL: John Lackey (1-0, 2.57) v. BAL: Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8, 4.52)
Moneyline: Baltimore -103
Total: 8.5 -110/100
Justin Masterson’s second start for the St. Louis Cardinals managed to go worse than his first start as he lasted just two innings and allowed five runs in Friday night’s 12-2 loss to the Orioles. On Saturday afternoon, the Cardinals will try their other trade deadline acquisition, John Lackey, in an attempt to get back in the win column. The Orioles maintained their five-game lead in the AL East, while the Cardinals dropped to two games back after the Brewers beat the Dodgers.
Lackey was strong in his first start for the Cardinals, holding the Brewers to just two runs over seven innings of work. Lackey had a 3.60 ERA over 21 starts with the Red Sox this season and was 11-7 in the American League. The league change coupled with a major defensive upgrade should help Lackey immensely. Lackey has allowed two earned runs or less in 14 of his 22 starts this season, so he has given his team a chance to win every time he has taken the mound. Six of those 14 outings have been starts of zero or one earned run allowed.
The same cannot be said of Ubaldo Jimenez, whose contract could become a major problem for the Orioles if he doesn’t get it turned around. Jimenez has issued 60 walks in just 99.2 innings of work. Jimenez, who cashed in on one good month during the 2013 season, has seen his velocity drop yet again this season as his mechanics remain a mess. This will be his first start since July 5 when the Orioles placed Jimenez on the DL with an ankle injury, which probably didn’t fix the actual problems that he has.
Lackey faced the Orioles quite a bit in his two years as a Red Sox pitcher and faced them a handful of times as an Anaheim Angel. Lackey is 14-7 with a 3.70 ERA in 26 career starts against the Orioles. In three starts this season, the Orioles have knocked him around to the tune of a 7.02 ERA. The Cardinals are 1-0 in Lackey’s lone start for one unit of profit. He generated 1.66 units of profit in 21 starts for the Red Sox.
Jimenez hasn’t faced the Cardinals since 2012 and hasn’t really faced them much since he was traded from Colorado to Cleveland and then to the Orioles as a free agent. Overall, this will be his ninth career start with a 3.33 ERA, but Jimenez has 95 plate appearances against current Cardinals and 55 of those are Jhonny Peralta and AJ Pierzynski, two former AL Central members. The Orioles are 6-12 in Jimenez’s 18 starts for a loss of 5.16 units and the start of a loss of $50 million for the Orioles.
Free MLB Pick: St. Louis
Why would anybody put their money on Ubaldo Jimenez at this stage? Not only has he been terrible this season, but his return from the DL should be met with serious concern, because his mechanics are not easy to repeat and he hasn’t made a Major League start since July 5. Lackey’s overall numbers should improve with the major upgrade on defense and he’s plenty familiar with these Orioles hitters.