Although Mondays always feature less games, there are a couple of potentially good ones to watch. Some of the best pitchers in the first month of the season will face off, and we could see some exciting and tight games. We also have an interstate rivalry, and while the two teams are heading in opposite directions, anything can happen in those types of games.
(Odds courtesy DraftKings)
Kansas City Royals (+150) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (-170) O/U 7.5
(First Pitch 1:15 p.m.)
The Royals are coming into this I-70 series having lost seven of their last nine and were just swept over the weekend by the Yankees.
The hitting has been awful as they’re 29th in batting average (.209) and slugging (.309), but they aren’t even hitting the ball well as they are at the bottom in barrel percentage (6.8) and hard-hit percentage (36.5).
Zach Grienke will be on the mound for the Royals, and while the 2.86 ERA looks nice, his overall pitching has not. The 1.16 WHIP is not very good, and his pitches look flat with very little speed difference. He was lucky to face a Cleveland lineup that struggled to start the season, but you saw in his last start against a bad Chicago lineup he looked exposed.
The Cardinals are also struggling to come into this game having lost five of their last eight. They’ve been inconsistent all season as they’ve yet to string a three-game winning streak but have only lost more than one game twice.
Steven Matz will go for the Red Birds, and he’s sandwiched two good starts in between two bad ones. He’s been able to pitch well against the bottom 20 offensive teams in Milwaukee and Cincinnati and rough ones against a top offense in the Mets and Pirates, who are hanging around the middle. Trends should be in his favor.
The key for the Cardinals is to get Grienke out early and have this game be within reach. The Royals’ bullpen ERA is the second-worst at 5.11, while the Cardinals is sixth at 2.92. We could see the Cardinals grab a late lead and hold it.
Leg 1: Cardinals ML
Los Angeles Angels (+105) vs. Chicago White Sox (-125) O/U 7.5
(First Pitch: 2:10 p.m.)
The Angels lineup has been tough to contain this season. The Los Angeles bats have put up 11 runs in the three games and would love to come out with a 3-1 series win.
You have to love the chances as they’ll send up Patrick Sandoval, one of the best pitchers in the league this year. He’s yet to allow an earned run in 15 innings while striking out 20. He mainly throws a fastball and a changeup with a difference of 9 mph, and he’s been able to keep the changeup down in the zone, making it impossible for hitters to adjust.
It’s going to be a tough task for a White Sox lineup that has well underperformed this year. Many projected them to be a serious American League championship contender, but this lineup is legitimately cold as they’re 27th in batting average (.211), last in barrel percentage (10.3), and hard-hit percentage (44.1).
They’ll counter with Dylan Cease, who’s been one of their more consistent starters for them this season. He blows you away with a fastball in the upper 90s, then comes at you with his slider that has one of the best vertical breaks in the league.
Both of these pitchers come in with swing and miss stuff. The White Sox are struggling to begin with, and the Angels are 18th in strikeout percentage this year. This should be a fun pitchers duel to watch.
Leg 2: Under 7.5 (-105)
Arizona Diamondbacks (+135) vs. Miami Marlins (-155) O/U 6.5
(First Pitch 6:40 p.m. ET)
The Diamondbacks are the worst hitting team in the league and it’s not even close. They’re either last or near it in every offensive category imagined. You could probably invent one, and they would be at the bottom.
It’s unfortunate for Zac Gallen, who’s having an amazing year after a rough 2021. His 0.69 ERA is fourth in the league, first in WHIP at 0.67, opponents are hitting just .118, and has yet to allow a long ball. His record does not reflect his performance as he gets absolutely no run support. He’ll get the advantage of facing a Marlins lineup that only has one player on the roster who’s faced him.
Miami is coming in hot, winning eight of their last 10, and the mix of young stars and veterans have developed great chemistry.
As good as Zac Gallen has been on the mound, Pablo Lopez has been better. He has an MLB-best 0.39 ERA and fourth with a 0.74 WHIP. The big key to his success has been the mixing of his fastball and changeup. Hitters are batting just .129 on his changeup while racking up 11 strikeouts on a pitch coming in like a cement mixer. He should fare well, as this current Diamondbacks roster is hitting just .219 in 41 plate appearances.
This should be another low-scoring pitcher’s duel with the Marlins unfamiliar with Gallen and the D-Backs awful hitting this season. The 6.5 is lower than you want, but this is a good one to ride with this matchup.
Leg 3: Under 6.5 (+100)
Total parlay odds on DraftKings: +759
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