Date/Time: April 18, 7:05 pm EST
Television: MLB Network
Starting Pitchers: Cardinals (Wainwright) Phillies (Hamels)
MLB Betting Odds from UcaBet
Moneyline: Cardinals (-110) Phillies (-110)
The St. Louis Cardinals are off to a decent start, while the Philadelphia Phillies have struggled out of the gates. Philadelphia dropped two games yesterday in Cincinnati, and the Phillies are quickly falling far behind the Braves and Nationals in the NL East. Two star pitchers will be on the mound in this one. Who will come out on top?
St. Louis has been one of the most consistent franchises in baseball over the last few years. The Cardinals have won the World Series twice, and they haven’t been below .500 in quite some time. St. Louis does it with some dominating starting pitching at the top of the rotation and one of the best offenses in the National League. Adam Wainwright is the true Ace of this team, and he’ll get the ball in this contest. Wainwright had a slow start last year after coming back from Tommy John surgery, but he rounded into form late in the year. He is 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA so far this year.
St. Louis’ lineup is one of the best in the majors because of their depth. The Cardinals have a great leadoff hitter in Jon Jay, but they also have guys like Yadier Molina and David Freese batting in the sixth and seventh spots. Anytime you can have guys like Molina and Freese that low in the order, you definitely have a deep lineup that will do some damage against a lot of pitchers.
Philadelphia will start Cole Hamels in this one. Hamels has been terrific over the last few years, but he has struggled in a big way so far this season. Hamels is 0-2 with a ridiculous 7.56 ERA in his first three starts. The Phillies have lost all three of Hamels’ starts this season. He has had a lot more trouble than normal finding the strike zone during the early part of this season. Hamels has averaged just one walk every four innings or so for the past 3 years, but he has 8 walks in just 16 and 2/3 innings so far this season.
The Phillies lineup has gotten a big boost from Chase Utley’s return to stardom this year. Whenever Utley is healthy, he is absolutely one of the best hitters in the game. The problem for him is he hasn’t been healthy much the last couple years. Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young are key pieces missing from the offense right now, but this team still has a strong first half of the order. Where they differ from the Cardinals is that they lack the strong bottom of the order. Philadelphia needs Ryan Howard to pick up his production for this team to have a chance to contend for a playoff spot.
Free MLB Pick: Cardinals ML
Until Hamels can prove he is back in form, I don’t think he should be backed. The Cardinals have the much better lineup here as well. I like St. Louis.