Indians at Cardinals MLB Pick and Preview – The Cleveland Indians head south Tuesday evening for the first of a back-to-back with the St. Louis Cardinals as both teams attempt to distance themselves from the .500 mark.
Last year’s American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber (6-3, 3.08 ERA) will be on the mound for the Indians, while Carlos Martinez (3-5, 5.83 ERA) is penciled in as the starter for the home-team Cardinals.
Wednesday’s pitching matchup is subject to change but is projected to pit Cleveland’s Jean Carlos Mejia (1-0, 0.00 ERA) against St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright (3-5, 4.19 ERA), who has thrown more pitches than any of his teammates this season.
Both teams are in the bottom half of the league in total runs scored and the bottom third in batting average, setting this contest up to be a low-scoring one, especially with Bieber being the delivery man for Cleveland.
Nolan Arenado is the biggest hitting threat for St. Louis in the weeknight matchup between a couple of Central division teams, hitting .287 this season and knocking in 11 home runs in 59 games thus far, but will have his work cut out with Bieber on a 4-1 stretch over recent weeks.
Jose Ramirez is the Indians’ looming threat at the plate and leads the Indians’ qualified players in batting average and home runs but is yet to homer this month, though he has hit .375 during June.
The Pick Is In
According to William Hill, the Cardinals enter the game as +1.5 (-120) underdogs, while the Indians are -1.5 (+100) favorites. The over/under has been set at 7.5 with a +105 on the “over” and a -120 on the “under.” The money line is -160 for Cleveland and +150 for St. Louis.
The Cardinals have split the “under” 3-3 in their past six ball games while the Indians have hit the “over” in 5-7 games during the past 10 days. This would suggest the odds would be in favor of tonight’s face-off exceeding 7.5 total runs, but it is important to note that the Indians only averaged 4.3 runs per game during that stretch excluding a 10-run outlier against the Orioles.
In this situation, I would consider the Indians to be the friendlier bet. The return may not be high, but St. Louis is on a 1-7 freefall while Cleveland has been, well, better, though not outstanding. It may not be the most exciting bet to ever flash across your screen, but take the Indians here.
The “under” also seems safe enough in this situation: between Bieber being on the mound and neither team scoring in great amounts recently or all season long, I do not envision the total count exceeding seven runs.
The result of this matchup could have postseason implications depending on the result: while the visitors are somewhat in no man’s land, sitting four games behind the Chicago White Sox and two and a half games ahead of the Kansas City Royals, the Cardinals have let their early advantage slip away. They are third in the National League Central division but are only one and a half games ahead of the fourth-place Cincinnati Reds, who swept them in four straight over the weekend.
The Cardinals will be desperate to end their torrid streak with a win over Cleveland, and although they will be at home, it just will not happen tonight. Take the Indians, take the “under,” and you will wake up slightly richer tomorrow morning.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.