St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs Pick 9/19/19
St. Louis Cardinals (85-67) vs. Chicago Cubs (82-70)
When: 8 p.m., Thursday, September 19
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago
Moneyline: STL -110/CHC -110 (BetOnline)
Runline: Cards +1.5/Cubs -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Jack Flaherty (10-8, 3.05 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) vs. Kyle Hendricks (11-9, 3.26 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
The only thing in sports that’s better than winning a championship is getting to do so at the expense of your biggest rival. That’s precisely what St. Louis can do this weekend. Thanks to the Cubs losing two of three to Cincinnati, the Cardinals can now eliminate the Cubs from the NL Central race by sweeping the series, giving them an edge that Chicago could not match. If Milwaukee drops its next four as well, St. Louis would officially lock op the division.
First Rate Flaherty
For much of the past two months, the Cardinals haven’t needed to use a strategy beyond sending their top pitcher to the mound and letting him do most of the work. Over the past two months, all Flaherty has done is put up one goose egg after another for St. Lou’s opponents — as long as they aren’t the Brewers.
Over Flaherty’s past nine starts, which date back to an 8-0 win against the Cubs at home on August 1, seven of his starts have come against someone besides Milwaukee. Six of those have gone in the win column, and only one, a 5-4 win over Cincinnati, resulted in anyone scoring a run against Flaherty. The one loss against a non-Milwaukee opponent came against Los Angeles, where he pitched well enough to win at Dodger Stadi-um, but couldn’t get a result after seven shutout innings, as the Cardinals dropped a 2-1 decision after he had left the game.
Even the one team that supposedly has his number doesn’t have much on him. Against Milwaukee, Flaherty has taken a pair of losses by giving up three runs in six innings, not a terrible number by any stretch of the imagination. It just wasn’t good enough to win, as the Brewers won 4-1 and 5-2. So what has Milwaukee done that nobody else has? The main thing is that the Brewers have used productive outs and made sure not to let Flaherty escape when they get a chance to score. Three of the six runs he’s conceded to them came off a home run, and two others came on a ground out and a sacrifice fly, showing just how difficult it’s been to get anything off him.
More Picks: Get tonight’s spread play plus all of our NFL Football Picks >>>
Hendricks Heating Up
On the other side of the ledger, Hendricks’ turning point seemed to come after taking a 10-1 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati. Since that game on October 10, he’s been outstanding, holding five of his six opponents to a single earned run or less. The one mark against Hendricks is that he hasn’t been getting the job done against quality competition as of late, as his five wins came against four squads who definitely won’t make the playoffs and the Mets, who will likely come close but fall short. However, Hendricks has one key thing up his sleeve: he’s the only pitcher on either side of this rivalry to win a start on the road in 2019. That came July 31, when Hendricks scattered seven hits and won at Busch Stadium to beat the Cardinals.
This series has been dominated almost exclusively by the home team, an oddity given how many opposing fans make their way into each team’s stadiums. But with seven games to play against each other this season, the only game that the visitors won still goes to the Cubs, who won Game 2 of the most recent series be-tween the teams at Busch Stadium. For the year, the record is 11-1 for the home team, with the Cubs holding a 6-0 mark over the Cardinals in games in Chicago this season. With an even distribution of home games so far, that’s given the Cubs a 7-5 edge over the Cardinals.
- The Cardinals are 8-3 in Flaherty’s last 11 starts.
- The Cubs have won their past seven series openers.
- The Cubs are 1-5 in their past six against a team with a winning record.
- The Cubs have won 21 of the last 26 meetings in Chicago.
- The under is 6-0-2 in Flaherty’s past eight road starts.
- The under is 7-2 in the Cubs’ past nine games after a loss
The temperature is expected to be 68 degrees at first pitch, a perfect day for baseball in Chicago.
This has been an easy series to bet as of late: take the home team and call it a day. But the Cubs’ play against the Reds has given me a reason to hesitate with that position. Chicago had a chance to really put some sepa-ration between itself and the rest of the pack, and it didn’t or couldn’t do it. That makes me wonder if the Cubs are holding up well down the stretch or if they will collapse like they did last year. A season ago, Chicago fell apart down the stretch, lost the NL Central on a tie with the Brewers and then fell in the wild card game to Colorado.
Losing two of three to Cincinnati is not a sign of a team that’s ready to win in the playoffs, so I’m going to take a chance here with a pitcher who has been dominant for the past two months in Flaherty. Eventually, St. Louis has to win on the road, and with Flaherty out there, this is the best chance that the Cardinals will have. I’m going to gamble on taking the Cardinals here.
STOP LOSING TODAY! START WINNING WITH DOC'S TEAM OF PROFESSIONALS! GET A FREE NO STRINGS ATTACHED $60 FOR THIS WEEKEND'S GAMES!