(Tuesday's game was rained out. This is the first game of a doubleheader)
The Mets sit in third place in the National League East standings with an 11-12 overall record through 23 games but remain just a half-game back of the Washington Nationals for the division lead. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have won five in a row to catapult themselves into a tie for first place in the NL Central. St. Louis is tied with the Milwaukee Brewers with a 17-12 overall record in 29 games.
Kim looking to continue strong start to 2021 seasonLeft-hander Kwang Hyun Kim will toe the rubber at Busch Stadium on Wednesday evening as the Cardinals continue their NL rivalry against the Mets. Kim has yet to complete six innings through his first three starts but he’s performed well, posting a 1-0 record to go along with a 3.29 ERA during that span. In his last start, Kim pitched around seven hits and allowed just one run in five innings of work in a no-decision versus the Philadelphia Phillies. Kim has performed well at Busch Stadium, posting a 1-0 record and 1.69 ERA in two home starts.
At age 32, the Cardinals’ lefty isn’t going to blow anyone away with his fastball, which sits at an average velocity of just 89.8 mph. However, Kim has managed to nearly double his strikeout rate through his first three starts of 2021. He’s fanned 10.54 batters per nine innings of work this season after posting a pedestrian 5.54 K/9 in his first MLB campaign a year ago. Kim has also walked only 0.66 batters per nine innings of work, which has helped him mitigate the damage despite being hurt by a .400 BABIP in 13 ⅔ frames.
This will be Kim’s first career start against the Mets.
(edit: Kim will now pitch the first game of the DH. Johan Oviedo will take the mound in the second game.)
Stroman looking to go deeper after tweaking hamstringThe Mets will counter with right-hander Marcus Stroman, who should be fresh after throwing just 64 pitches during his previous trip to the mound. Stroman tweaked his right hamstring last time home, cutting short his outing against the Phillies. He allowed just two runs (zero earned) in five innings of work but suffered a tough-luck loss for his efforts. The 30-year-old enters with a 3-2 overall record to go along with a 1.86 ERA in five starts but he will be looking to pitch deeper into the game after failing to complete six innings in each of his last two starts.
Stroman might not be the flashiest pitcher in the National League but he gets the job done by keeping hitters off balance and initiating weak contact off of the bat. He’s posted a 7.06 K/9 strikeout rate through six starts but owns strong peripherals across the board, including a 1.84 BB/9 walk rate. Stroman has done a good job of keeping the ball on the ground and in the yard. The Mets’ right-hander owns a home run per fly ball rate of just 6.3 percent and his current 60 percent ground ball rate is the highest among qualified MLB starting pitchers, according to FanGraphs.
Stroman has only made one career start against the Cardinals, tossing six innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts to escape with the win. According to Baseball Savant, current Redbirds are batting only .182 in 12 plate appearances off of the Mets’ ace heading into Wednesday’s matchup.
- Mets are 5-13 in their last 18 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
- Mets are 3-8 in their last 11 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Mets are 1-4 in their last 5 Wednesday games.
- Cardinals are 4-0 in their last 4 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Cardinals are 5-0 in their last 5 overall.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
After a dismal first season in the Major Leagues, Cardinals fans have to be encouraged by what they’ve gotten from Kim this year. Through three starts, the 32-year-old has posted a 32.9 ERA while nearly doubling his strikeout rate. He’s also pitched well at Busch Stadium, allowing just two runs in his first 10 ⅔ frames there this year. Stroman’s 3.59 xERA and 3.22 xFIP suggest that he’s due for some regression and this looks like a good spot for that to happen. Take the Cardinals to come out on top at home in this matchup on Wednesday afternoon.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are only projected for 7.5 runs but that number seems a bit low in this spot. The Mets may have recently fired their hitting coach and assistant but the offense had been trending up as of late with 18 runs over its last three games combined. Meanwhile, St. Louis has also come alive at the dish over the past week, scoring an average of 6.4 runs per game during its five-game winning streak. Take this matchup to go over the projected total on Wednesday night.