MLB betting cheat sheet: The Cardinals are primed for a breakout

I love to harp on the revenge angle in this column (finding teams seeking revenge for a prior series sweep) and one such opportunity presents itself this weekend in St. Louis when Pittsburgh comes to town.

If you recall, these two NL Central rivals opened the season against one another. The Pirates took all three games, holding the Redbirds to one run in two of the games. But they should feel pretty fortunate that they were able to do that seeing as the Cardinals now lead all of MLB in runs scored.

Also, if you’re a believer in run differential as a predictor of future success (like I am), then you probably are already aware that St. Louis (+45) has underachieved to this point (only 15-14) and is likely to go on a nice win streak. 

There could be some good opportunities to wager on the home team in this weekend’s series.

This Just In – The Cubs are really good 

Already, they’ve outscored their opposition by 93 runs. That’s in just 26 games. To put that run differential in perspective, only four teams last year outscored their opponents by 93 runs over the course of a full, 162-game schedule!  For the record, the Cubs are on pace for a run differential of +579, which would be preposterous and obviously isn’t going to happen.  Soon, it may be very possible that the only way for value-seekers to play this team will be on the run line (-1.5).

But this weekend will be interesting in that they shouldn’t be too big of a favorite on the ML as they draw the East-leading Nationals.  The exception to that will be Jake Arrieta’s start on Sunday.

Carry the Zero

It sure seems as if the San Diego Padres lead the league in shutout losses each season, doesn’t it?  True to form, the Padres have already been blanked eight times in 2016. No other team has suffered the fate more than four times. 

Thus, a matchup with the vaunted Mets pitching staff this weekend certainly seems to be a pretty scary proposition for the NL West contingent. For the record, the Padres are 2-5 off those shutout losses, Thursday’s result pending.

WAG of the Week

Kate Upton got engaged to Detroit Tigers’ starting pitcher Justin Verlander this week. Despite the fact that both of them have lost their 100-mph fastball in recent years, this legendary WAG will live on forever in pictures.

Hitting Notes

* The Royals are in the bottom five when it comes to runs scored.  That’s pretty surprising. Usually, this is a club known for having a high on base percentage.  But they are only 24th in that department right now.  Five regulars are below the team OBP average of .301 with the biggest offender being Kendrys Morales, who is at .248.
 
* One player that’s hitting the cover off the baseball right now is Buster Posey. He’s 9 for his last 17 at the plate (.529) with three doubles and six runs scored.  A weekend visit from the usually suspect Colorado pitching staff (which is 28th in ERA right now) should only continue to bolster the catcher’s offensive numbers.  When the Giants made a visit to Coors Field last month, Posey sat out twice and went 0 for 4 in the one game he played. The Rockies likely won’t be so fortunate this time around.

Pitching Notes

* The Mets’ Matt Harvey has been a big money loser thus far with a 2-4 team start record that’s left his backers down 5.1 units. Even uglier is Harvey’s 4.76 ERA and 1.559 WHIP.  In his last start, he threw his changeup, slider and curveball a combined 34 times – just twice he got a batter to swing and miss. As has been well documented, his fastball velocity is way down as well. A 25-11 KW ratio is certainly not what the faithful in Queens were looking for at this point. But “The Dark Knight” will certainly have a good opportunity to turn things around on Sunday when he faces the aforementioned light-hitting Padres.

* Harvey isn’t the biggest money losing starter thus far though. That dubious distinction belongs to the Yankees’ Luis Severino, who with a 0-5 TSR is down 5.9 units – as if the Bronx Bombers didn’t have enough to worry about with their sorry hitting.  We’ll next see Severino Sunday in Boston where he’ll find what is – by far – the American League’s highest scoring lineup to this point. Severino avoided the Red Sox when they swept the Yanks earlier this year. This has bad news written all over it.

Totals Trend

Here’s something you could not have possibly guessed. The Over is a perfect 6-0 in Jake Arrieta starts this season. I’m not joking. This is due to the fact that the Cubs have supplied him with at least six runs of support every time out. 

Injury Notes

* The struggling Yankees’ offense got some more bad news this week as DH Alex Rodriguez has been placed on the 15-day DL with a hamstring injury. Rodriquez may not have gotten off to a hot start, but his bat had been warming up before the injury and leads the Bronx Bombers in home runs with five and RBIs with 12. The Yankees’ potent offense has scored just 89 runs in 2016, ahead of just the lowly Atlanta Braves.

Friday’s Weather Report

* In Baltimore, they are hoping the rain is light enough, or passes over quickly enough to get a ball game in as the Orioles host the Athletics tonight. The total for the game is currently 8.0.

* The same can be said in New York, where the Yankees are scheduled to host the Red Sox. There is a 100& chance of rain showers early on, but are expected to taper off as the evening rolls along. There will also be a 10-12 mile per hour hitters wind gusting in from right field. The total for this game is currently 7.5.

* There is a 26 percent of of rain and chance of thunderstorms when the Angels host the Tampa Bay Rays tonight. There will also be a 7-10 mile per hour wind gusting out to center field. The total is currently 7.5.

* In San Francisco, there is a 44 percent chance of rain and chance of thunderstorms for tonight’s game versus the Rockies. There will also be a slight seven to nine mile per hour hitters wind blowing out to left field. The total is currently 7.0.

* San Diego will experience the same forecast, with a 42 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms for their game versus the Mets. Additionally, there will be a six to eight mile per hour wind gusting out to right field.

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