Billy J’s Wednesday MLB Pick – St. Louis Cardinals @ Colorado Rockies

Our in-house MLB expert, Billy J (+10.41 units), gives his best bet for today!

Never get in the way of a moving train. There is a freight train coming and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping now. The Cardinals are on a path to destruction and the Rockies are just merely in their way. The Cardinals have won 10 of their last 12 games and remain in first in the National League Central. After a home stand that included two sweeps of the Cubs and Yankees, the Cardinals will finish out this small three-game road trip in Colorado before returning home for six games.

Runs have come in bunches so far in this series with the Rockies winning the first game 16-5. In that game, the Rockies had 22 hits as they tagged Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas for 10 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals answered yesterday by winning 9-5. They racked up 18 hits and dropped the hammer in the first inning with five runs right out of the gate. The Rockies in a losing effort still had 13 hits.

To win their fourth series in a row, the Cardinals will hand the ball to starter Dakota Hudson (6-6, 4.20 ERA). Hudson has been a statistics phenomenon this year. He has somehow kept his ERA respectable and does not have a losing record. His 1.39 WHIP would put him near the bottom of the league if he had enough qualified innings. Prior to his last start against the Yankees, the Cardinals had lost five of the last six starts. 

To say Hudson has managed to stay afloat is an understatement.  The most strikeouts Hudson has had in a game this year was six, and that was on his June 7 start against the Rays. His total strikeout-to-walk ratio currently stands at 1.2. When looking at league leaders for any starting pitcher who has thrown over 100 innings, Hudson is dead last in the league with a 12.7 strikeout percentage. The fact that Hudson doesn’t qualify for these categories after 20 starts shows you that he is barely getting through innings in each start. Hudson normally doesn’t go deep into games and in his last two starts has not made it past the fifth inning. 

Hudson will be opposed today by Rockies right-hander German Marquez (6-9, 5.18 ERA). When pitching half your games at Coors Field, this type of ERA is expected. Marquez has overcome a tough start to this season and had a July ERA of 3.69. In Marquez’ last start at the Diamondbacks, he went six innings and only gave up two earned runs. Aside from a home start against the Dodgers in which he gave up four earned runs, Marquez has only given up two earned runs in four of his last five starts.

There is a freight train in the Cardinals and all public money will be on them today. At a quick glance I see the expected bets on the Cardinals money line around 75 percent of the bets at the current line of -115. This still shocks me considering all details in regards to Hudson and how his turn in the rotation keeps coming up. Marquez has been far more efficient lately and much better at home in his last few starts despite an overall 6.11 ERA at home.

With today’s starters on the mound and the amount of hits so far in this series, this game could absolutely be high scoring. Do I like it at the current line of 12 runs? I never feel comfortable with that high of an over. Where I really like value for a pick today is in the first five innings. I don’t expect Hudson to make it past five innings as all prior start indications show that he won’t. Hudson doesn’t strike out anyone and relies on his defense behind him. With how this series is going and the Rockies recording 35 hits in the first two games, I don’t expect their bats to slow down against Hudson. I will stand in front of this moving freight train, but just for the first five innings.

The Pick: Rockies +0.5 runs First 5 Innings -140 to win 1.5 Units Caesars SportsBook

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