Cardinals vs Red Sox Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Expert Picks for Sunday, May 14

Cardinals vs Red Sox Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Expert Picks for Sunday, May 14 article feature image

Via Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox reacts against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 6, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Red Sox defeated the Phillies 7-4.

  • The Red Sox are short home underdogs on Sunday Night Baseball against the Cardinals.
  • St. Louis has won each of the first two games of this series, but is there value in backing Boston at home in this spot?
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and shares his top MLB betting pick below.

Cardinals vs. Red Sox Odds

Sunday, May 14
7:08 p.m. ET
Cardinals Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-110 / -110
Red Sox Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-110/ -110
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate of games.

Kenley Jansen recorded his 400th save last Wednesday against the Braves. It was a special accomplishment that deserved celebration.

However, Jansen has since proceeded to blow back-to-back saves in the first two games against the Cardinals, although the latter required some help from his former Dodgers teammates:

Nobody said it had to be pretty. #STLCards lead!

TV: Bally Sports Midwest
Stream: Bally Sports app

— Bally Sports Midwest (@BallySportsMW) May 13, 2023


The loss capped off the fourth defeat in five games for the Red Sox as they've slid to last place in the AL East during the stretch.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals are trying to climb out of a deep hole. They've won four of five, clinching back-to-back series wins.

All that said, I'm looking at a different angle on Sunday Night Baseball.

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St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals can hit the baseball. They've been a top-10 offense all season, ranking top-five in Hard-Hit Rate (42.9%) and xwOBA (.336).

Paul Goldschmidt might be superhuman. The only way to describe him is .300/30/100.

In his age-35 season, Goldy has seen no dropoff in his batted-ball profile, and his defense has rebounded. He's even on pace for a career-high Hard-Hit Rate (55.5%), although that number is sure to rebound slightly.

I love watching Goldschmidt because he's such a well-rounded hitter. He can smack baseballs as far as anyone, but his bat-to-ball skills are almost undervalued. For example, he went 3-for-5 on Friday with three slapping singles.

That's three solid hits on three different pitches (cutter, four-seam, splitter) to three different areas of the field. That guy looks like Luis Arraez.

But wait, it was only seven days ago when Goldy hit three homers in a game against the Tigers?

That guy looks like Barry Bonds. What a player.

He's had a rough start, but Nolan Arenado is coming around. He had a four-hit day on Saturday, capping off an eight-game stretch where he's slashing .314/.368/.571.

In the meantime, Nolan Gorman (147 OPS+) and Willson Contreras (108 OPS+) are holding it down. And, as mentioned, the Cardinals' offense has been just fine.

Unfortunately, hitting makes up only half the game, and the Cardinals' pitching staff has been a nightmare.

The bullpen has surprisingly strong metrics, ranking fourth in bullpen xFIP (3.79) despite walking over 10% of batters. The problem is those bullpen pieces rank second-to-last in Win Probability Added (-7.20) and last in Clutch (-3.62).

Add that to the Contreras catcher-to-DH-back-to-catcher saga, and I'm a little curious about the management of this team. I watched Genesis Cabrera walk two straight batters in the eighth inning the other night, yet Oliver Marmol allowed him to pitch to Boston's most dangerous hitter.



— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) May 13, 2023

I don't know, but that feels like poor bullpen management; the whole team sometimes feels like a mess. The defense certainly hasn't been Cardinal-esque (17th in DRS and OAA).

The rotation is a complete mess outside of Jordan Montgomery, and today's starter is a huge part of that problem.

Starting pitcher: Miles Mikolas (RHP)

Mikolas's batted-ball profile looks rough.

Woof. Mikolas has a 5.40 ERA and 5.99 xERA through eight starts.

Mikolas uses a four-pitch mix evenly (sinker, slider, four-seam, curveball), although nothing has been that effective.

The closest thing Mikolas has to an effective pitch is the slider, which has a 22% Whiff Rate, a 19.4% Hard-Hit Rate and a 111 Stuff+. But even that pitch has a .431 xSLG against.

Meanwhile, his fastball is getting tattooed. He has a 76 Stuff+ and 67.6% Hard-Hit Rate on the pitch.

Mikolas returned from his shoulder injury last year as a solid middle-rotation innings eater, and he threw harder as the year went on. Maybe that's the case this season, but I'm not convinced.

Conversely, Mikolas has a 2.20 ERA and 18 strikeouts over his past 16 1/3 innings against the Giants, Angels and Cubs. His 3.74 xFIP during the run indicates regression, but it's still improvement.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are so predictable.

This lineup rakes. They lost Xander Bogaerts in the offseason, but Alex Verdugo has taken a step forward (135 OPS+, 1.6 bWAR), Justin Turner has been consistent (.273 BA, .373 OBP, eight doubles) and Masataka Yoshida has been a revelation.

But, perhaps more importantly, the bottom of the order contributes far more than last season.

Look no further than Jarren Duran, arguably the most improved player this season on offense (1.029 OPS) and defense (85th percentile in OAA). At the same time, don't overlook Connor Wong's pop (10 XBH) or Tristan Casas's plate discipline (17.1% Walk Rate).

Of course, everything rotates around Devers, who's on pace for a career-high ISO (.289).

But the larger point is that this lineup is much deeper and less top-heavy than ever. It's more of your classic, grinding Boston lineup, and it's working.

Unfortunately, the rotation is a nightmare. Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta and Corey Kluber all have ERAs north of 6.00, and Brayan Bello is the staff's current "Ace" with his 5.01 ERA.

So, what do you get when you combine deadly offense with horrific starting pitching? Overs!

Surprisingly, I don't expect this trend to continue.

Despite his poor metrics, Brayan Bello is starting to settle in and capitalize on his electric stuff.

Meanwhile, Chris Sale has put together a few elite starts, and he's brought the heat recently.

Excuse me sorry what?

— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) May 6, 2023

Plus, in his first start in two years, James Paxton tossed five scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.

Boston might have an actual starting pitching unit if those three see sustained success.

Additionally, the Red Sox are still trying to find places for Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck, with the former returning from the IL soon. There are a lot of arms battling for a few spots, and some kind of cream should rise somewhere (expect Pivetta to be the odd man out once everyone is healthy).

The Boston bullpen fascinates me. Are you supposed to tell me the core of Josh Winckowski (2.55 ERA), John Schreiber (2.16 ERA), Chris Martin (1.64 ERA) and Brennan Bernardino (1.74 ERA) paired with a 35-year-old Kenley Jansen is supposed to be an elite unit?

I didn't believe it, as the whole unit was patched together. Yet, these guys have been the difference-makers for the Red Sox this season.

Through 38 games last year, the Red Sox were 16-22 with an MLB-leading 10 blown saves. Through 38 games this year, they’re 22-16 and Kenley Jansen has blown 1 save. Jansen has 9 saves so far. The Red Sox, as a team, had 7 saves between 6 different pitchers through 38 last year.

— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) May 11, 2023

Of course, the unit has also been lucky, ranking 22nd in xFIP (4.41). I spoke to Jansen's struggles in the intro, but Winckowski also blew up on Friday (three runs on four hits in 2/3 of a high-leverage sixth inning).

This was a long-winded way of saying that there are question marks on the mound at Fenway, but there's also an upside.

Unfortunately, there's no question how little upside Sunday night's starting pitcher has.

Starting pitcher: Corey Kluber (RHP)

Kluber used to be a command and location stud. He leaned more on that command as he aged, recording a 3% Walk Rate and 104 Location+ with the Rays last season.

Kluber's command is waning. His Walk Rate is up to 7.8%, and his Location+ is down to 98. And if you can't command a sub-90mph fastball, it's all over — hitters are rearing back and unleashing on his stuff.

I don't think Kluber can be an effective soft-tosser anymore.

That said, Kluber is still a rather-savvy pitcher, and maybe he can work his way through five innings of three-run baseball. He's done that in two straight starts against the Phillies and Blue Jays.

That might be enough for the unbelievably potent Red Sox offense. After all, they won both starts.

Cardinals vs. Red Sox Betting Pick

I don't expect the Red Sox overs trend to continue in the long run, but it should continue on this edition of Sunday Night Baseball.

These are two bottom-of-the-barrel starting pitchers battling two of the best lineups in baseball. Meanwhile, both bullpens have been relatively taxed, even if the Red Sox will mostly miss Jansen (or maybe not miss him very much), so we can expect run production in the later innings.

Meanwhile, the weather report is solid, with BallParkPal projecting a +5% Runs Factor at Fenway today.

The Red Sox aren't just hitting overs – but crushing them. Boston games are going over the total by almost two runs per game on average. Consequently, books are starting to adjust, but I don't think they've adjusted enough.

We project this game for around 10.6 runs, so grab the best over 10 runs price possible and enjoy a high-scoring affair between two of the league's best lineups on Sunday Night Baseball.

Pick: Over 10 Runs (-110) | Bet to Over 10.5 (+100)

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