There’s not a team in the majors that would want to meet St. Louis in the postseason the way they’re playing – and it’s not even sure if the Cardinals get into the playoffs yet. A 20-7 record over their last 27 has brought the redbirds back from the brink of a rebuilding year to just 2.5 GB from the Cubs in the Central. LA might know a thing about missing the playoffs too as their 3-8 over their last 11 has dropped them 3.5 GB in the West with both the Diamondbacks and Rockies ahead of them. Even after the trends and taking the first two games at Chavez Ravine, the Cardinals are still lofty underdogs (STL +148) in the August 22nd NL free pick. Is anybody taking LA tonight?
Cardinals Aim to Keep on Rolling
The best intangible St. Louis has on their side tonight is momentum – and its infectious. Daniel Poncedeleon allowed just 1ER and struck out 8 Dodgers batters in only his second career MLB start in St. Louis’ 5-2 win last night. On Monday another rookie Austin Gomber held the potent LA offense to 2ER over 5.0 IP. It could be another big night for a youngster as rookie Jack Flaherty (7-6, 3.05 ERA) gets a crack at Los Angeles. The right-hander grew up in Southern California (Burbank) and has allowed a total of 2ER over his last three starts (19 IP, 23 K’s). He’s calm and comfortable which is why St. Louis isn’t a bad wager in the August 22nd NL free pick.
The Cardinals will be seeing Dodgers starter Walker Buehler for the first time but are 8-2 in their last 10 games vs. a RH starter. Marcell Ozuna is plugging along nicely with 3HR in his last 7 games and was joined by Yadier Molina in going deep in last night’s win. The Cards have put up 5+ runs in 7 of their last 10 yet tonight’s O/U seems incredibly low at 7.5. A pitcher’s duel it is?
Dodgers Getting Desperate?
Los Angeles may know that their window for the postseason could be slipping away as they reportedly tried to sign Bryce Harper off waivers yesterday before the claim expired resulting in no deal. LA already tried to bolster their offense with Manny Machado and Brian Dozier among others at the trade deadline but so far it hasn’t resulted in them pulling into first in the NL West. The Dodgers are 3 out in the wild card right now which is doable – but they also have 4 teams ahead of them. Even worse, they’ve lost 2 straight to one of the teams ahead of them, these St. Louis Cardinals. If LA wants a win, they need some hitting as 6 of their last 10 games have resulted in 3 runs scored or less.
Of course LA also needs to stop the fiery Cardinals offense to win the August 22nd NL free pick and that job falls on Walker Buehler (6-4, 3.19 ERA) tonight. The right hander has been solid lately with just 4ER allowed over his last 4 starts. The Dodgers have also won 4 of the last 5 Buehler starts at home even though they are just 1-4 in their last 5 home games overall. Tonight will be the first time seeing any Cardinals batter for Buehler – which could be good or bad.
August 22nd NL Free Pick Betting
Right off the bat there’s not much value in a Dodgers team (LAD -163) 3-7 over their last 10 and is skidding the wrong way in terms of momentum. Even so, the public is split 52/48 on LA. The Cardinals run can’t last forever, but they’re worth another ticket tonight as Flaherty pitches in front of friends and family from his childhood.
Free Pick: St. Louis Cardinals +148