SF Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview and Pick – Wainwright vs. Cain

San Francisco Giants (42-34) Matt Cain +126, 7.5 O/U at St.
Louis Cardinals (41-38) Adam Wainwright -136, 7.5 O/U, Busch
Stadium, St. Louis, Mo., 8:15 PM EST, Wednesday

by Badger of Predictem.com

Earlier in the year if you would have made the bold prediction that
the San Francisco Giants would be leading the pack in the National
League wild card standings on July 1st, you probably would have been
asked to go pee in a cup. But thanks to a stellar pitching rotation
that is 2nd in the Major Leagues with a 3.61 ERA, the Giants are
right in the thick of things this late in the 2009 campaign.

One of the Giants best starters this season, right-hander Matt Cain,
will go tonight in game three of a four-game set in Busch Stadium
against the St. Louis Cardinals and their own right-hander, Adam

The Giants pitching has handed it to the Cards in the first two games
of the series already. On Monday, Tim Lincecum held the Cards to two
hits in an embarrassing 10-0 shutout victory in the series opener.
Then last night the Cards were held in check by veteran lefty Randy
Johnson, who allowed just three runs on seven hits in a 6-3 Giants
victory in game two.

Meanwhile, the Giants offense has been teeing off on the Cardinals
pitching, registering 12 hits in the opener and then tallying 13 hits
off of Cards ace Chris Carpenter last night. The Giants have now won
five of their last seven games and have done it by averaging over
five runs a game (5.7), a full run and a half above their season long
average of 4.09 per game.

Oddsmakers dont seem to be impressed, as they have installed the
Cardinals and Wainwright as rather large -136 favorites on the
moneyline. Cain and the Giants are valuable +126 underdogs on the dimeline, while the over/under total is listed at 7.5 across the
board at all of the online sportsbooks.

Cain was the Giants hottest starter up until his last start in
Milwaukee, where he was finally knocked around a little giving up
five runs on six hits and four walks in seven innings of work. Prior
to that last start the Giants had won nine straight starts made by
Cain as the righty was running his season totals to 9-1 with a 2.57 ERA.

Cain has faced the Cards three times in his career, compiling a 1-1
record with a surprisingly high 6.48 ERA, including the decision in a
4-2 victory against the Cards back on May 29th (6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R).
But he hasnt missed many bats in the process, as the Cards sport a
really nice .294 batting average on balls hit in play (BAbip).

Two bats that Cain will have to work around tonight are those swung
by Albert Pujols and Chris Duncan. Pujols hit homerun No. 29 and 30
last night, and is 4-for-8 with a homer and four RBIs against Cain in
his career. Duncan is 3-for-7 lifetime against Cain and has also gone
deep once.

Wainwright has been a bright spot in the Cards rotation this year,
going 8-5 with a solid 3.51 ERA. The Cardinals are 10-6 in his 16
starts so far this season, and hes coming off of a good start (7 IP,
7 H, 3 R) that wasnt quite good enough in a 3-1 loss to the
Minnesota Twins.

Wainwright has also already pitched against the Giants this season,
going seven innings and allowing four runs on 10 hits in a 5-3 loss
in San Francisco back on May 31st. That was his second start and
fourth appearance for Wainwright against the Giants, who have 22 hits
and 10 runs against him in just 17.2 innings of work. The Giants also
sport a very nice .852 OPS versus Wainwright in his four appearances.

The Giants have won four of the five games versus the Cards this
season, after taking four of the seven they played head-to-head last

All but one of the five games this season have gone over the total,
with the lone exception being the start by Cain on May 29th. The over
is also 4-1 in the last five games of the series played at Busch

Badgers Pick: Hard to not like Cain as a solid +126 underdog tonight
against a struggling Cards team. Take San Francisco at +126.