MLB Baseball Betting: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

MLB Baseball Betting:  Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

At some point, there’s every reason to think that the Chicago Cubs will ‘downshift’ a bit before the playoffs begin. They have a 17 game lead over the second place St. Louis Cardinals with 19 games to play (pending the outcome of Tuesday’s game). Translation–it would take a completely unprecedented collapse for the Cubs to lose the divisional title. The Cardinals still have a shot at the playoffs but they’ve got to keep winning. They’re one of the three teams battling for the two National League playoff spots. The San Francisco Giants currently have the top wild card spot with a 1.5 game lead over the New York Mets who are in the second wild card spot. The Cardinals are 1/2 game behind the Mets and 2 games behind the Giants. There are three teams within single digits of the Cards but none seem poised to make a serious threat–the Marlins, Pirates and Rockies all have at least 5 games to make up and all have losing records in their past ten games.

St. Louis hasn’t exactly been tearing it up of late. They’ve lost 7 of 11 but will get their shot to take control of the wild card race later this week when they play four games against the Giants in San Francisco. A win or two in this series would make it considerably easier for the Cardinals. They lost the series opener on Monday night and oddly enough they’ve played the Cubs better at Wrigley Field than they have at home. The teams have split 14 games overall but St. Louis is 2-5 at home. That’s not a huge surprise since the Cards have been generally lousy at home this year with a record of 32-40 -25 units.

Compounding the Cardinals’ problems–they not only face a left handed pitcher but one in exceptional form. Statistically, the Cards should perform reasonably well against southpaws. Their runs per game and batting average are identical against LHP as they are overall. Yet St. Louis is 18-21 -8.9 units against them. That’s very bad news against Cubs starter Jon Lester who has been all but unhittable lately–in his last three starts he’s pitched 22 innings allowing 13 hits and 1 ER while punching up 17 strikeouts against 4 walks.