First place in the NL Central will be on the line in MLB betting action on Fox Saturday Baseball, as the Cincinnati Reds (10-10) take on the St. Louis Cardinals (11-9) at Busch Stadium.
The Reds are definitely going in the wrong direction over the course of the last nine games, as they have lost seven of those nine games. Six of those losses came at home against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks. The good news is that some members of the team are hitting, namely Joey Votto, who is batting .394 with three homers and 10 RBIs, and he is already on pace for well over 120 walks for the campaign as well. As a team, Cincinnati is batting .274 as a team with a 5.45 runs per game scoring average. It ranks in the Top 5 of every major offensive category this year in the bigs. The bad news is that the pitching staff definitely has been nothing to write home about, allowing 4.43 runs per game, No. 23 in the league. Travis Wood is on the mound on Saturday, but he has led the Reds to three straight losses. In fairness, he has only gotten seven runs of support in that time. However, he is just 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA on the campaign, and batters are hitting a whopping .286 against him.
Chris Carpenter hasn't had a lot of great news this year. His fellow ace, Adam Wainwright is out for the season, and he hasn't picked up a win yet on the campaign. Carpenter is coming off of a fantastic start against the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he allowed just five hits and no walks in seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts. Take away the eight runs he allowed against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he's having a great season, save for the fact that the team has only provided him with five runs in a total of three starts. However, we know that there is good news for Carpenter. In 18 career starts against the Reds, the St. Louis stud is 12-3 with three complete games, including one complete game shutout. Carpenter's ERA is 2.02, and his WHIP is just 0.83. If you want to talk about a big time K/BB ratio, look no further than the 120/18 that Carpenter has against Cincinnati in his career. The Cards are batting .296 as a team this year, but they're doing all of that without Albert Pujols doing much. The MVP candidate is only batting .250 and has an OPS of under .800.
Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick: The Reds are just 1-7 over the course of the last eight duels against the Cards, but to make matters worse, they are only 1-10 against Carpenter in his last 11 against them. The choice in this one, especially with Cincinnati struggling, is simple. Go with the Cardinals -150.