Following a rough series in Pittsburgh, the St. Louis Cardinals will continue their road trip as they start a three-game series with the Texas Rangers. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’ll be targeting a play for the first five innings.
The Rangers will come into tonight fresh off a three-game sweep over the Mariners, in which their lineup and pitching staff were dominant. Texas won a 2-0 pitching duel on Friday night but proceeded to outscore the Mariners 28-9 over the next two games. In yesterday’s 12-3 win, Jonah Heim and Corey Seager left the yard while Adolis Garcia picked up his 50th RBI of the season.
As they look to bring their win streak up to four games, Texas will hand the ball to Martín Pérez to make his 12th start of the season. In 61 innings, the lefty has pitched to a 4.43 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 20 walks. Pérez struggled a bit his last time out against the Tigers as he allowed six earned runs over 4 ⅔ innings, but luckily for him, since his offense has been so solid this season, he ended up with a no-decision.
Pérez will face a Cardinals lineup that could only muster up one run yesterday and has scored three or fewer runs in nine of their last ten games. St. Louis ended yesterday’s loss with just five hits, two of which came from Luken Baker in his Major League debut. Aside from the five hits, the Cardinals also left 18 runners on base, with their only offensive highlight coming from an Andrew Knizner solo home run.
It’ll be up to Adam Wainwright to snap the team’s losing streak as he takes the mound for the 6th time. Across 26.3 innings, the veteran has a 6.15 ERA with 16 strikeouts and eight walks. Wainwright took the loss his last time out, as he pitched five innings and allowed three earned runs on nine hits while getting zero runs in run support from his offense.
The Texas Rangers F5 run line of (-.5) is priced at (-105), and I’ll be backing them for my play. Texas has been the second most profitable team on the F5 run line when playing at home this season with a 20-7 ATS record, while St. Louis has an F5 ATS record on the road of 13-19. The Rangers are also averaging a league-high 4.74 runs per game in the first five innings at home and have hit righties exceptionally well as of late.
Over the past month, the Rangers are 1st in wRC+, wOBA, BAbip, and OPS against right-handed pitching at home. They also have an ideal matchup tonight as they face a starter in Adam Wainwright, who is in the 7th percentile in barrel percentage, 1st percentile in expected batting average, and 5th percentile in expected slugging percentage. The veteran also has a 5.40 ERA or higher in three of the first five innings.
Conversely, the Cardinals have struggled mightily with left-handed pitching, as they are 27th in wRC+, 26th in wOBA, 26th in OPS, and 24th in BAbip against lefties on the road over the past month. Martín Pérez has been his best when pitching at home, as he has a 1.93 ERA in three home starts.
Texas Rangers F5 (-.5)(-105)