Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.
St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET
- Cardinals (Carlos Martinez): +104
- Brewers (Brent Suter): -114
- Over/Under: 9
Bet to Watch
Martinez has spent his entire career in St. Louis, making his MLB debut in 2013. That means he has faced the Brewers quite a bit. In fact, the Cardinals right-hander has pitched in more games (25) against Milwaukee than any other team in the majors.
Martinez has enjoyed enormous success in those battles with the Brew Crew. In 25 career games (14 starts), he’s 6-4 with a 1.95 ERA over 97 innings.
This will be Martinez’s fourth start since coming off the DL, and the Dominican has really struggled with control since coming back, like he has all season. He has walked five or more batters in each of his past three starts. In fact, he owns the second-worst BB/9 rate (5.74) among starters with at least 50 innings pitched — trailing only Tyler Chatwood’s 8.30. As a result, he only made it through five innings in one of those three starts. Troubling for a guy with a career 3.42 BB/9 rate.
However, despite the walk issues, Martinez still sports a 2.73 ERA because he keeps the ball on the ground and in the park. He owns an MLB-best 0.29 HR/9 and a top-10 ground-ball percentage (GB%) of 52.8 (min. 50 innings). Since 2015, he has the fifth-lowest GB% among all qualified pitchers.
Teams simply don’t get the ball in the air against Martinez, which spells bad news for a Brewers club that owns the fourth highest GB/FB (ground ball to fly ball) rate in the majors.
And if you isolate those splits against right-handers, whom Milwaukee has raked against, the Brewers still have the fifth-highest GB% at 47%.
I previously mentioned Martinez’s issues with free passes, but the Brewers simply don’t walk much against righties. Their BB/K rate ranks 25th in baseball.
And while the Brewers have inflicted plenty of damage against righties with the long ball (fifth-most homers), I already mentioned how well Martinez has kept the ball in the yard this year.
All in all, Martinez simply matches up very well with the Brewers, who have scuffled some offensively in June. Milwaukee, which is just 7-9 this month, has scored three runs or fewer in 10 of those 16 games.
However, because of Milwaukee’s extreme bullpen advantage (fourth-best bullpen ERA vs. 24th-best) and questions with how deep Martinez will go, I prefer Cardinals F5. Don’t forget that Milwaukee had its game postponed Wednesday night, while the Cardinals’ pen threw 4.1 innings in Philly.
I think the Redbirds will also benefit from seeing Suter for the third time already this season.
The Pick: Cardinals First 5 Moneyline