MLB Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals (Monday, Sept. 21)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Wainwright.
Cardinals vs. Royals Odds
|Cardinals Odds||-186 [Bet Now]|
|Royals Odds||+160 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||9.5 (+102/-122) [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||8:05 p.m. ET|
The St. Louis Cardinals must keep winning to stay ahead of the Cincinnati Reds for second place in the NL Central. MLB made changes for this postseason to grant the second-place team in each division with a playoff berth, and the Cardinals have been up to the challenge of late, stringing together a four-game winning streak. They’ll now face the Kansas City Royals, who likely won’t have the postseason in their plans, currently sitting six games out of the final wild-card spot.
The Cardinals will hand the ball to Adam Wainwright with hopes he can keep their winning streak alive. He’ll be opposed by Royals rookie Carlos Hernandez. Hernandez is essentially auditioning for a spot in the Royals rotation next season, but he’ll have to do battle against a motivated Cardinals ballclub.
Considering Hernandez hasn’t pitched more than four innings in his three starts, Kansas City’s bullpen will likely be asked to do some heavy lifting tonight. That hasn’t particularly worked out in its favor against teams above .500 this season.
Check out our free MLB odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Kansas City Royals
After three starts, Carlos Hernandez is still in search of his first big league win, but Kansas City seems to be taking things slow with its young right-hander. Even when he seemed to pitch well early on, he was on a pitch count that never exceeded 50.
Hernandez is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. In his last start, he got dinged by Pittsburgh after it took him deep with three home runs in just three innings. Despite the long-ball show, the Royals still managed to win the game against the lowly Pirates, who are dead last in all of baseball with just 15 wins on the season. Those three home runs did a number on Hernandez’s FIP, though, as it currently sits at 7.04, suggesting quite a regression from his ERA.
Usually when young pitchers come up, they have a slight advantage over the hitters simply because batters are unfamiliar with what pitches they throw. That hasn’t necessarily been the case for Hernandez, as his K/9 sits at only 5.79. That could be something worth watching as Hernandez progresses through his career.
St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright seems to continue defying father time. In his 15th MLB season, the Cardinals right-hander has put together another impressive campaign with a 5-1 record and 2.87 ERA. He’s even posted a WHIP of 0.98.
Despite those gaudy numbers, his 4.02 FIP points to some regression, and that’s likely because he doesn’t have one advanced statistic that would blow anyone away. Instead, Wainwright’s attribute is that he’s at least average or better in all his stats across the board. He has a 7.43 K/9, a 2.03 BB/9, and a 1.18 HR/9. But he has limited the damage with a 79.2% strand rate with runners on base.
Compared to last year, Wainwright has actually improved the vertical movement on his cutter, changeup, and curveball, per Baseball Savant. There’s no doubt the tweak in his mechanics has paid dividends for the 39-year old, as he seems to be improving with age.
Wainwright has found success in his career against the Royals. He’s 5-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 10 starts, and the Cardinals are 6-4 in those outings.
What intrigues me about this matchup is that St. Louis has never lost consecutive outings against the Royals in which Wainwright has started. And the Cardinals failed to pick up a win in his most recent outing against Kansas City this season.
There’s a lot to like about Wainwright, especially considering he’s only allowed more than three runs in one of his starts this season. He’s coming off a seven-inning performance against the Brewers in which he earned the win after only allowing two earned runs. The last time Wainwright completed seven innings, he followed it up with a complete-game win over the Cleveland Indians.
As for the Royals, they picked up a win in Hernandez’s last start, but it was against the struggling Pirates, who are 23 games below .500. Against teams that are at least .500 competition, the Royals are 0-2 with Hernandez on the mound, and they’ve been outscored, 18-3.
I expect much of the same tonight as Wainwright looks to be trending up after his last performance. The six St. Louis wins over the Royals with Wainwright as a starter have all covered the run line.
That’s exactly how I’ll look to play this game, as DraftKings offers the -1.5 run line at -112.
The Pick: Cardinals -1.5 (up to -130)