Chicago Cubs (23-31) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (33-25) MLB Betting Lines
Moneyline: Cardinals (-169) Cubs (+159)
Runline: Cubs +1.5 (-140) Cardinals -1.5 (+120)
Starting Pitchers: Cubs (Dempster) vs. Cardinals (Garcia)
The Chicago Cubs are coming off a six-game homestand where they played the Pirates and the Astros. That was supposed to be a portion of their schedule they could use to catch up in the standings, but that isn’t what happened. The Cubs dropped two out of three from the Pirates and were swept by the lowly Astros. St. Louis continues to play solid baseball, but they are dealing with some more injuries of late. This is one of the best rivalries in baseball, and it will be renewed Friday night in St. Louis.
Ryan Dempster had a dreadful stretch in April where he allowed 19 runs in the span of just three games, but he has turned it around of late. Dempster has a quality start in five of his last six starts. The Cubs offense ranks second in all of baseball with a .272 team batting average. The problem for the Cubs has been converting base runners into runs scored. The team has stranded a ton of runners on a consistent basis. Defensively, the Cubs have committed 44 errors, which is more than any other team in baseball. This is a Cubs team that has blown quite a few close games this year with crucial mistakes.
Jaime Garcia actually led the National League in ERA before his last start, but he was shelled at Coors Field last week. Garcia allowed 11 earned runs in just 3 and 1/3 innings. Garcia has allowed just one earned run in 31 innings at home this year, and I expect him to bounce back in this game. Matt Holliday is back on the disabled list and that is certainly not good news for this Cardinals offense, but they do have a lot of other weapons. Allen Craig, Jon Jay, Lance Berkman, Yadier Molina, and Ryan Theriot are all batting better than .300 this season. The Cardinals are first in the majors in team batting average, and they are second in the majors with 4.95 runs scored per game.
The Cubs are 1-5 in Ryan Dempster’s last 6 starts at St. Louis. I expect Garcia to bounce back in a big way here. I like the Cardinals to win this one.
MLB Free Pick: Cardinals ML