A pair of first-place teams square off at Petco Park in the opening game of a three-game series.
St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego Padres
St. Louis is set to begin its six-game road trip against the San Diego Padres, after completing a successful 5-2 homestand against Washington, Florida and the Los Angeles Angels (+194). The Cardinals have produced a 26-19 overall record in large part to their strong pitching staff, raking second in the league with a 3.07 ERA, just behind tonight’s opponent. The team has an even 11-11 record on the road this season (-240), including an even 3-3 mark against the NL West (-55). Runs are tough to come by at Petco Park, which places even more pressure on star 1B Albert Pujols to break out of a slump. The three-time MVP is 3-for-20 in his last six games and doesn’t have an RBI in his last nine.
Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright is 6-2 with a 2.49 ERA in nine starts this season. The right-hander is an even 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA in five road starts this season (-200), allowing just 26 hits in 35 innings of work. In four appearances (one start), he is 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA against the Padres, but has allowed 14 hits in 9.2 innings. The Cardinals have alternated wins and losses in his last seven starts, picking up a 4-2 home victory over the Marlins his last outing. Early-game prop bettors need to take notice that Wainwright has yet to give up a run in his first 30 pitches of a ball game this season.
San Diego enters this series with a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Padres have cooled off in May, posting an 11-10 overall record (+170), but their .591 winning percentage (26-18) in second in the National League behind the Philadelphia Phillies. The team has played .500 or better ball in five of their last seven months of play, including a 15-8 record in April this year. Manager Bud Black’s team comes into this series ranked first in earned-run average overall, by starters, relievers and at Petco Park. The under is 25-15-4 in the Padres first 44 games this year.
Padres SP Jon Garland is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four home starts this season (+170), but has issued 16 free passes and struck out just eight over 25 innings. The 31-year-old veteran was 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals last year, as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Garland has held Pujols to a .250 batting average (2-for-8), but both of his hits have left the park. Surprisingly enough, St. Louis C Yadier Molina has given the right-hander all he can handle, going a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate with two RBI. He has compiled a dominating 25-15 record with a 3.93 ERA in 55 career games (52 starts) in May.
Prop bettors will certainly have interest in playing that no runs will be scored in the first inning in his matchup, as both Garland and Wainwright have yet to allow a run in their first 30 pitches this season.
St. Louis has a great chance of picking up its first victory with a total of seven or less this season (0-3, -400), with the great success the offense had against Garland last year.