MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Diamondbacks vs. Cardinals Betting Preview (June 30)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images. Pictured: Kwang Hyun Kim
- The Diamondbacks and Cardinals meet for a Wednesday afternoon matinee in St. Louis.
- Arizona has the worst record in MLB, but the Cardinals have played particularly poor baseball in the month on June.
- Who has the edge in this one? Kevin Davis breaks it down below.
Diamondbacks vs. Cardinals Odds
|Time||1:15 p.m. ET|
The Diamondbacks have the worst record in MLB. The Cardinals started off the season as the best team in the NL Central, but since the start of June they have dropped to fourth place.
Even with both teams playing poorly, the Cardinals have been set as heavy favorites. Whose recent string of bad luck is more of an issue?
Arizona’s Pitching Has Been Abysmal
The starting pitcher for the Diamondbacks in Wednesday’s game is rookie Riley Smith. Last year in six long relief appearances, Smith had a 2-0 record with a 1.47 ERA in 18 1/3 innings.
This season has been a different story for Smith as has had an abysmal record as a starter, but a decent record as a reliever. In 14 long relief appearances over 36 1/3 innings, Smith has a 4.71 ERA with 6.2 strikeouts per nine innings. In five starts this season, Smith has gone 22 innings with a 7.36 ERA and is averaging just 2.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
What should make Arizona hopeful is that those poor starts were in April and May, so this is his first taste of starting in a while. However, Smith like the Diamondbacks’ bullpen has struggled in June as he has a 6.05 ERA pitching in relief. In fact, Arizona’s relievers have a 5.24 xFIP this month, which is the worst in MLB. If Smith has another rough outing, it is doubtful that the bullpen will be able to save him.
While the Diamondbacks’ pitching has been abysmal recently, their lineup has not been that bad. Arizona’s hitters are averaging 4.2 runs per game which is only 0.21 fewer runs than the average MLB team. Against lefties they have a 100 wRC+, which is exactly league average and better than their full-season numbers. The good news is that they’re facing a lefty on Wednesday in Kwang Hyun Kim.
Can Kim Give Redbirds Length?
Since arriving to St. Louis from Korea, Kim has been a decent pitcher. Last season as a 31-year-old rookie, Kim had a 3-0 record with a 1.62 ERA. However, he also had a 4.52 xFIP, which means that he should have allowed about three runs more per nine innings than he did last year.
This season, Kim is just 1-5 but has a 3.98 ERA,and a 4.37 xFIP. Even though Kim has been decent, when you look more closely at his body of work, it makes the Cardinals hard to back as heavy favorites.
For Kim’s career, he is averaging only 6.65 strikeouts per nine innings. If Kim leaves any batters on base, he will have a hard time pitching St. Louis out of trouble. The bigger issue besides Kim’s lack of power pitching is his lack of usage. In 12 starts, he is averaging fewer than 4 2/3 innings per start. With the Cardinals’ bullpen having the worst xFIP in MLB, they are poorly served by starters who cannot go the distance such as Kim.
Backing up Kim and the Cardinals is a lineup that is averaging only 3.91 runs per game, the fourth-worst in MLB. Even with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals’ lineup is hard to trust.
Both the Diamondbacks and the Cardinals are hard to back in Wednesday afternoon’s game. However, it is hard to look at Wednesday’s game and conclude that the Cardinals should be heavy favorites.
The Diamondbacks may have unreliable starting pitcher, but the Cards have an awful bullpen. With Kim unlikely to pitch for five or more innings, Arizona can take advantage of the St. Louis bullpen. Additionally, Kim is vulnerable to a Diamondbacks lineup that has done decently against lefties this year, despite all their troubles.
I like the Diamondbacks at +165 and would bet them up to +160. Based on Arizona’s recent skid, I expect a better price on them by game time.
Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks Moneyline +165 (William Hill); would bet up to +160.