Saturday May 4th MLB Free Pick: Cardinals at Cubs
Chicago Starting to Close Gap in the NL Central
St. Louis had been on a bit of a roll winning 7 of 8 games. They’ve since dropped two in a row including Friday’s 0-4 defeat at the hands of the Cubs in which Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks threw just 81 pitches in a complete game. The Cubs have now won 5 in a row, and they’ve closed the gap on the Cardinals to just 1.5 games in the division. Oddsmakers are calling the May 4th MLB free pick a close one however (STL -107, CHC -116).
Cardinals Aim to Find Their Offense Saturday
St. Louis has seen their bats go kaput in the last two games, managing just 1 total run in losses to Washington Thursday and the Cubs in the series opener. It’s a strange output for an offense that ranks 8th in the league in scoring and has a top 5 overall BA. St. Louis did run into two pitching gems from Hendricks and the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg (6.2 IP, 1ER, 9K’s) however. The Cardinals have very limited experience vs. Saturday’s Chicago starter Yu Darvish, going just 3-17 (.176). Marcell Ozuna also has each of those hits. On another St. Louis offensive note, Paul Goldschmidt has now gone 4 for his last 27 (.148).
Michael Wacha takes the ball for St. Louis on Saturday looking to post his 3rd straight victory. Wacha has yet to pitch into the 7th in 5 starts this season, but he has held opponents to 2ER or less in 3 of those 5 appearances. Wacha made two starts vs. the Cubs last season, allowing just 1ER in early May but getting rocked for 8ER in just 4IP on June 15th.
What Can Chicago Expect From Darvish at Wrigley Field?
By far the biggest question mark ahead of the May 4th MLB free pick is what version of Darvish shows up? The right-hander looked much better last Saturday at Arizona, allowing just 2 hits and 1 ER in scoring the win. Chicago was up 5-0 by the 3rd inning however and Darvish was able to pitch without pressure. He also still struggled with command (4BB) and gave up his 6th HR in the last four games. The Wrigley Field faithful can easily turn on Darvish when (if) he starts to struggle, and the Cubs have been outscored 2-11 in Darvish’s two starts in Chicago this season.
The bright spot for Chicago is that their offense is in the zone right now. Saturday’s O/U is just 8.5 even though the Cubs have plated at least 5 runs in 6 of their last 9 and now have the league’s #2 ranked scoring offense. Anthony Rizzo has 4HR in his last 5 games and Willson Contreras is staking his claim to the best catcher in baseball with 2HR in the last four. The Cubs have a .385 collective average vs. Wacha, led by Rizzo who is 20-42(.476) with 3HR vs. the St. Louis starter. Kyle Schwarber also has 2HR in 9 career AB vs. Wacha.
May 4th MLB Free Pick Betting
You like Chicago’s history vs. Wacha in this one but also don’t know what to expect from Darvish. There’s value on the sides of both teams with a line that is nearly a toss-up. Even though there is a slight 5MPH wind coming in from right, the offenses should prevail in this one.
MLB Free Pick: Cardinals / Cubs *Over* 8.5