St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Preview and Pick – 27823

St. Louis Cardinals (69-68) +130, o/u 7 at Arizona Diamondbacks (78-63), 9:40 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of

The surging St. Louis Cardinals take their new lease on life to the desert this weekend for a three-game series with the West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks starting Friday night.

St. Louis just split four games with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and now have won 17 of their last 26 to pull within one game of first place in the National League’s Central Division.

Arizona just took two of three games from the San Diego Padres to take a one-game lead in the NL West.

In the only encounter between these two teams thus far this season, the Cardinals took three of four games from the Snakes back in July at Busch Stadium, with the o/u going 1-2-1 in that series.

St. Louis is a 30-37 team on the road this season, while Arizona is 43-29 at home.

Adam Wainwright (13-9, 3.78) will get the start for the Cardinals in the series opener Friday night against Cy Young award winner and contender Brandon Webb (14-10, 2.91) for the Diamondbacks. Wainwright, pressed into service as a starting pitcher for the first time in his career this spring, has performed admirably, and now has posted five straight starts of allowing two ER and less. St. Louis has won all five of those games, and is 17-10 in Wainwright’s starts this year, the o/u 10-14.

Wainwright has started once in his career vs. Arizona, allowing two ER and eight baserunners (hits + walks) in seven IP of a 3-2 St. Louis victory back in July.

Webb has been brilliant most of this season, and posted a 42-inning scoreless streak at one point. But in his last two starts, encompassing 12 1/3 IP, Webb has allowed 10 ER and 17 baserunners.

On the year, the D-Backs are 18-11 in Webb’s starts, the o/u 9-16.

Webb has started two games vs. the Cardinals over the last two seasons, giving up five ER and 11 baserunners in 15 IP.

Webb is also know for keeping the ball in the ballpark; he’s allowed just 11 homers in 204 IP this season. But Wainwright hasn’t been too bad at that himself this year, giving up 11 dingers in 169 IP.

St. Louis owns a .338 team OBP this season, which ranks 10th -best in the majors, and is averaging 4.5 runs per game.

Arizona ranks dead last in the league with its .316 team OBP this season and is averaging 4.3 RPG.

Both bullpens have been very busy recently, and not especially effective. Cardinals relievers have combined to allow 11 ER and 30 baserunners over their last 22 1/3 innings of work, while the D-Backs pen has given up eight ER and 24 baserunners in its last 20 1/3 IP.

On one side of this match-up, St. Louis is 17-9 since bringing up new hitting sensation Rick Ankiel from the minors. On the other side, Arizona may be without sparkplug 2B Orlando Hudson for a few games because of a bad thumb.

The o/u is 63-65 in Cardinals games this season, and 60-72 in D-Backs games, but, somewhat oddly, 38-29 at Chase Field, where games are averaging 9.3 run per this year.

Webb and Arizona opened up as -160 favorites for Friday night’s game, but that line has dipped to around -145 at most sportsbooks around the internet.

The Predictem Pick: Under 7.5 runs.