The St Louis Cardinals (22-29, 4th NL Central) visit Progressive Field on Friday for the first game of a three-game interleague series against the Cleveland Guardians (21-28, 3rd AL Central). St. Louis was defeated by the Cincinnati Reds 10-3 on Wednesday and has lost two of the last three. Cleveland was defeated by the Chicago White Sox 6-0 in its most recent outing on Wednesday. The Guardians have lost two straight and five of the last six. St Louis will play without three pitchers and position players Dylan Carlson and Tyler O'Neill. Cleveland will play without four pitchers including three starters and one reliever.
St Louis is producing at the plate but struggling on the mound
The St Louis Cardinals have the 7th best team batting average at .262, the fourth-best on-base percentage at .335 and the fifth-best slugging percentage at .442. St Louis has scored 261 runs which is fifth best. Nolan Gorman is leading St Louis in home runs with 13 and in RBI with 39. Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt are second in home runs with nine each and Arenado is second in RBI with 34. St Louis has hit 91 doubles, five triples and 72 home runs in 51 games.
On the mound, St Louis has struggled as the Cardinals are 21st in team ERA at 4.46 and 27th in WHIP at 1.46. The starting rotation for St Louis has only 10 Quality Starts which is 25th and the pitching staff is allowing opponents to average .270 at the plate which is 27th. Jack Flaherty is the leader in strikeouts for St Louis with 54. The Cardinals will hand the ball to Matthew Liberatore on Friday. This season the left-hander is 1-0 with an ERA of 3.00 and seven strikeouts
Cleveland struggles at the plate but performs well on the mound
The Cleveland Guardians are 28th or worse in four major hitting statistics. Cleveland is 28th in team batting average at .225, while dropping to 29th in on base percentage with .297. The Guardians are 30th or last in slugging percentage at .340 and in runs scored with 169. Josh Naylor is the leader in home runs for Cleveland with seven and Jose Ramirez has six. Naylor is the leader in RBI with 32 and Ramirez is second with 25. The only other player for Cleveland with more than 20 RBIs, at 21, is Josh Bell. Cleveland has hit 77 doubles, 10 triples and only 30 home runs in 49 games.
In memory of 🐦#ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/CCBJz4NFvR— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) May 23, 2023
St Louis is within 4 ½ games of first place in the National League Central thanks to excellent pitching. The Cardinals have the 9th-best team ERA at 3.86 and the 11th-best WHIP at 1.26. The St Louis starting rotation has 23 Quality Starts and the pitching staff is holding opponents to a batting average of .251 which is 22nd. Shane Bieber is the leader in strikeouts for Cleveland with 47 and is tied for the lead in victories with three. Cleveland will hand the ball to Tanner Bibee on Friday. This season the right-hander is 1-1 with an ERA of 3.18 and 25 strikeouts.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
St Louis has struggled against interleague teams that have a losing record, losing five of the last seven. Cleveland has won five of its last six interleague games played at home and the Guardians beat up on right-handed starting pitchers at home, winning 11 of the last 12 in that situation. St Louis starting pitcher Matthew Liberatore has had just two appearances, one start and one out of the bullpen. The left-hander's most recent appearance lasted just one inning after allowing one hit and two runs last Sunday in a relief appearance versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cleveland starting pitcher Tanner Bibee has pitched well in each of his last two starts allowing nine hits and three runs in 13 ⅔ innings.
Full-Game Total Pick
Cleveland is all about the under. The total has finished under in 20 of Cleveland's last 28 games played at home, in 36 of Cleveland's last 56 overall and in six of the last nine games played at home against the St Louis Cardinals. Cleveland starter Tanner Bibee has allowed a total of just two earned runs over the last 13 ⅔ innings. Cleveland struggles to score runs as the Guardians are last in baseball with 169, while having the 9th-best team ERA at 3.86.