Chicago Cubs (42-65) AT Saint Louis Cardinals (57-50)
July 31, 2011 at 8:05 PM EST
Opening Line: STL -140, CHI +130
Current Line: STL -155, CHI +140
Opening Total: 8.5
Current Total: 8.5
SP: CHI- Ryan Dempster; STL- Jake Westbrook
Saint Louis has been nothing short of dominant in the first two games of this home series against the Cubs. Winning the first games by a total of 22 to 7, the Cardinals will look to complete the 3 game sweep of the Cubs tonight, as the Cubs send veteran Ryan Dempster to the mound in search of his 8th victory of the season.
It doesn’t bode well for Dempster and the Cubs that Albert Pujols has been very successful against the Cubs hurler. He is hitting .327 with 7 HRs in 49 career at bats against Dempster. Pujols also homered in Saturday’s game and will look to help the Cards make their first sweep over an NL team since they last did it to the Cubs in early June.
Dempster has lost his last two starts since the All Star Break, and one of the two losses came against the Cardinals on June 3rd when he gave up 6 runs and 8 hits in 5 IPs of a 6-1 win over Saint Louis. Against the Brewers on Tuesday, he gave up 3 rusn and 4 hits in the first inning, but only allowed 3 more hits over the next five innings. The Cubs produced little offensively, however, and lost the game 3 to 2.
The Cardinals will counter Dempster with Jake Westbrook, who despite a good record of 9-4, has not pitched that well, with an ERA approaching 5.00. He has given up 2 runs or fewer in his last 3 starts, however, and gave up only one run and 7 hits in 6 innings of work against the Astros on Tuesday. A pitcher that is much better in the second half of seasons, Westbrook will look to refine his pitches and keep hitters guessing, something that his success has been predicated upon, rather than overpowering pitches.
On May 11th against the Cubs, Westbrook gave up 5 runs and 6 hits in 2.1 IPs of an 11 to 4 loss.
Some betting trends:
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of the Cubs’ last 11 games and they are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games. The total has gone OVER In 7 of the Cubs last 10 on the road, while the Cubs are 0-5 SU in their last 5 road games. The total has gone OVER In 8 of the Cubs’ last 10 games against the Saint Louis Cardinals and the Cubs are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games against St. Louis. The total has gone OVER In 5 of the Cubs’ last 7 games on the road against the Cards and the Cubs are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games on the road against the Cards.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of the Cardinals’ last 6 games and they are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games. The total has gone OVER in 4 of the Cards’ last 6 home games and they are 6-2 SU in their last 8 home games. The total has gone OVER in 8 of their last 10 against the Cubs while they are also 5-0 SU in their last 5 games against the Cubs. The total has gone OVER in 5 of Saint Louis’ last 7 games at home against the Cubs while the Cards are 5-0 SU in their last 5 home games against the Cubs.
Given Saint Louis’ sheer dominance in this series, it is easy to predict them as the victor of this game. Dempster hasn’t been that solid this season and has a bad history with Pujols, both factors that should contribute to the Cubs’ loss.