By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
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* 2019 MLB Record: 43-30-2 (59%) *
[4:05 p.m. EST] St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs (-122)
STL: Michael Wacha – R (2-0, 4.78 ERA)
CHC: Yu Darvish – R (2-3, 5.02 ERA)
The Cubs are hot right now, going 14-4 over their last 18 games, including wins in five straight. Michael Wacha has had plenty of troubles with the NL Central rival, as its current roster has a combined .331 batting average, .390 on-base percentage and .997 OPS against him, including 10 homers in 178 plate appearances. Anthony Rizzo is the happiest of the bunch to see Wacha, as he’s gone 20-for-42 lifetime with two doubles, three homers and only three strikeouts in 44 plate appearances.
Yu Darvish has looked much better in each of his last three starts, with a 2-1 record and 23 strikeouts over 16 2/3 innings. If he could just keep those walks down (22 in 28 2/3 innings this season), it may show that Darvish is finally back from the truly awful start he got off to this season. There is some comfort in knowing that each of his two lowest walk totals this season came in starts at Wrigley Field.
All in all, the matchup of Wacha against the Cubs could be too much for the Red Birds to overcome. Darvish is looking much better and it just adds more optimism to a Cubs team that is rolling right now.
* Final Score Prediction: Chicago Cubs: 5 – St. Louis Cardinals: 2 *
[4:10 p.m. EST] Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians (-1.5, +102)
SEA: Mike Leake – R (2-3, 4.98 ERA)
CLE: Carlos Carrasco – R (2-3, 5.86 ERA)
It has been a nightmarish run for the Mariners after their amazing start to this season. After getting out to a 13-2 record, Seattle has now lost 14 of its last 19, including five straight. Mike Leake goes for the Mariners and it hasn’t gone well for him recently, allowing four runs or more in three of the last four starts and eight homers over that span – 22 innings.
Carlos Carrasco has settled down a bit after a tumultuous start to the season, and that includes a 12-strikeout performance against these same Mariners a little more than two weeks ago. Not to mention, Seattle is in a truly-bad funk right now, scoring one run or less in four of the last five.
Keeping it simple here with a shutdown performance from Carrasco and the Indians cruising to victory. Cleveland’s 1.5-run line has much more value at +102, as opposed to the -205 moneyline.
* Final Score Prediction: Cleveland Indians: 8 – Seattle Mariners: 1 *
[7:10 p.m. EST] Over 9 (-104) – New York Mets at Milwaukee Brewers
NYM: Zack Wheeler – R (2-2, 5.05 ERA)
MIL: Gio Gonzalez – L (0-0, 3.60 ERA)
Vegas has already put its stamp on this game, increasing the IRTs for both sides (Mets: +0.4, Brewers: +0.6) and the game total from eight to nine. Reason being, these two teams own the worst ERAs in the National League – Friday’s 3-1 win by Milwaukee was a mere misnomer.
The Mets’ offense should be able to get it going against Gio Gonzalez, who is facing them for the second time in as many starts. Gonzalez was in a lot of trouble during the first two innings of that game, but the Mets’ offense faced some bad luck by hitting into two double plays, which thwarted more runs crossing the plate.
There’s been a running joke on Zack Wheeler’s success tied to not facing the Nationals, but that notion was stumped in his last outing when he gave four runs in the second inning to the Reds. The Brewers will likely get Christian Yelich back in their lineup today and that’s just a good sign in general for offense.
* Final Score Prediction: New York Mets: 6 – Milwaukee Brewers: 5 *