There were not a lot of high expectations for the Colorado Rockies heading into this season, but the same thing can’t be said about the Cardinals. Yet, here we are in early August, and the Cardinals have just four more wins than Colorado heading into this weekend’s series. Both teams are entering tonight off back-to-back series losses, and we’ll preview the series’ opening game before going over why I’ll be targeting the total.
Colorado enters tonight after an off day and in the midst of a two-game losing streak. Before heading to St. Louis, the Rockies played the final game of a six-game homestand on Wednesday, where they would fall 11-1 to the Padres. Colorado used five pitchers in the game, and three of them allowed at least three earned runs, while the only offense the team got came from an Elehuris Montero RBI ground out.
As we all know, playing in Colorado can lead to some high-scoring games, but the Rockies' pitching staff took that to a new level by allowing 22 total runs to be scored across the three games. With the Rockies looking to find their way back into the win column tonight, they will turn to Chris Flexen to make his second start with the team. Flexen’s first outing was not a good first impression, as he allowed six runs (five earned) in 3.2 innings against the A’s.
One team that could certainly use a game against a struggling starter is the St. Louis Cardinals. With their 5-3 loss to the Twins yesterday, the Cardinals have scored three or fewer runs in seven of their last ten games. Aside from two Dylan Carlson RBIs and an Alec Burleson solo home run, Sonny Gray and the Twins bullpen kept the Cardinals' bats quiet.
Now with two straight series losses entering the final series of their homestand, the Cardinals will turn to Adam Wainwright to get this series started on the right note. It’s been a brutal season for the legendary veteran, as he enters tonight with a 7.18 ERA across 62.7 innings and is fresh off his fifth loss of the year in which he allowed four earned runs over six innings.
The total for this matchup can currently be found at 9.5, and I’ll be taking the over for my pick. While neither offense has lit up the scoreboard recently, this is a matchup of two struggling starters and two bullpens that have not been good over the past month. Tonight is a prime spot for both offenses to make up for their recent struggles.
Despite their recent inconsistency and struggle to find the win column, the Cardinals have put up strong numbers against right-handed pitching at home over the last month. Since July 4th, St. Louis ranks 11th in OPS and 10th in wRC+ against righties at home, and to make things even better for over-bettors, their opponent tonight has a 10.69 road ERA and is in the 2nd percentile in xERA/xwOBA and expected batting average.
At the same time, the Rockies offense will face off with Adam Wainwright, and he’s in the 1st percentile in expected batting average, expected slugging percentage, and xERA/xwOBA. Not only does Wainwright have a 5.75 xFIP at home this season, but the Cardinals bullpen has pitched to a 5.11 ERA over the past month.