The St. Louis Cardinals look to take another step towards a National League Central title when they take on the Colorado Rockies in the opener of a three-game series at Coors Field Tuesday. The Cardinals come into this contest having won two straight and eight of their last 11, while the Rockies have dropped two in a row and won just once in their last 10 games.
St. Louis currently holds a four-game lead over the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central with each team having 19 games to play. Milwaukee is sitting in third place in the division, six games behind the Cardinals, with the Brewers playing three games in St. Louis this weekend. Colorado’s playoff hopes have been dashed for a while now, as the Rockies are in last place in the National League West, 32.5 games behind first-place Los Angeles, and sit 17.5 games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot.
The moneyline for this contest has the St. Louis Cardinals -145 and the Colorado Rockies +135. The over/under has been set at 13.5.
Been A Struggle
While the Cardinals’ run to the top of the NL Central has been powered by some solid starting pitching, Michael Wacha is still trying to join the party. The right-hander hasn’t recorded a win since July 19 and is coming off a start in which he was reduced to an opener role, going two innings and allowing two hits against San Francisco. On the season, the 28-year-old is 6-6 with a 4.98 ERA, having given up 25 home runs in 112 innings of work.
The Cardinals swept the previous four games these two teams played in St. Louis in August, averaging 7.7 runs in the process. There are dangerous bats throughout the lineup for St. Louis, none more dangerous than that of Paul Goldschmidt, who leads the team with 29 home runs to go with 80 RBI and 85 runs scored. Rookie Tommy Edman has continued to impress, hitting .278 with seven home runs and 27 RBI in 74 games, with two of those homers and five of those RBI coming in the last week.
Looking For A Win
Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez has struggled this season, to say the least. He comes into this game with an 0-6 record and a 7.29 ERA in 10 appearances this season. He has yet to have an outing this season in which he didn’t give up at least two earned runs, and two starts ago, he lasted just 2/3 of an inning against Pittsburgh, giving up seven hits and seven earned runs before getting pulled. He started in the previous series against St. Louis, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing five earned runs on just three hits thanks to six walks issued.
As always, the Rockies can be dangerous when playing at Coors Field, but it seems like the team has given up on manager Bud Black, winning just three times in their last 20 outings. Over their last five games, the Rockies have a total of 10 runs. Nolan Arenado had a 12-game hitting streak snapped over the weekend, but he still leads the Rockies with 37 home runs and 108 RBI this season. Trevor Story (30 home runs, 76 RBI) and Charlie Blackmon (team-high .318 batting average, 27 home runs, 76 RBI) are both capable of breaking out as well, so the Cardinals can’t look past this team.
St. Louis Takes Opener
The Cardinals are certainly much more motivated to play hard than the Rockies at this point of the season. And they’re facing a pitcher that has yet to earn a win this season. St. Louis’ bats will chase Gonzalez early and take the life out of the Colorado crowd. I’m taking the Cardinals -145 to get the win.