The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers will continue a four-game series when they square off at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Friday night. Los Angeles took the opener on Thursday for its first two-game winning streak since a three-game streak ended on Aug. 3. The Cardinals are still a decent 3-2 in their last five contests.
Staying in contention
The Dodgers won the series opener and can pull even for the National League’s second wild-card spot on Friday. They are putting heat on the Cardinals and remain 1.5 games behind first-place Colorado in the National League West. Manny Machado went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in Thursday’s victory, with the HR being his first since Aug. 30. Outfielder Matt Kemp notched two hits in the series opener and is 5-for-13 with three RBIs over his last three contests. The Dodgers are 4-3 on their current 10-game road trip and have scored at least eight runs in three of the wins.
Right-hander Walker Buehler (6-5, 3.09 ERA) is taking the mound for Los Angeles on Friday. Buehler lost to the Rockies in his last outing, when he gave up four runs and six hits over 6.0 innings. The 24-year-old is 3-2 with a 4.07 ERA in nine road starts compared to a solid 2.32 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) at home. Buehler allowed three hits and recorded nine strikeouts over 7.0 scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Cardinals on Aug. 22, when he was matched up against Flaherty.
Wake them up when September ends
The Cardinals, who trail Milwaukee by three games for the first wild card and are 4.5 games behind the Cubs for first place in the National League Central, are just 5-7 this month after going 22-6 in August. Catcher Yadier Molina (hamstring) returned to the lineup in Thursday’s 9-7 loss to Los Angeles following a six-game absence and went 0-for-1 with a walk before leaving after four innings. St. Louis trailed 8-1 at that point before mounting a charge that came up short. Third baseman Jedd Gyorko (groin) went 1-for-5 with an RBI on Thursday in his first start since Aug. 28.
Jack Flaherty (8-6, 2.92 ERA) will oppose Buehler on Friday. The right-hander is 4-0 over his last seven starts and has allowed fewer than two runs in five of those outings. The 22-year-old settled for a no-decision in his last appearance, as he gave up three runs and four hits in 5.0 innings against Detroit. Flaherty registered 10 strikeouts while giving up just one hit–a solo homer by Joc Pederson–over 6.0 innings in the recent no-decision against the Dodgers.
The St. Louis Cardinals are:
- 23-11 in their last 34 overall
- 11-3 in their last 14 games against teams with winning records
- 7-2 in their last nine games against the National League West
The Los Angeles Dodgers are:
- 2-5 in their last seven games against the National League Central
- 5-13 in their last 18 games that are the third in a series
- 1-4 in their last five games following a win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
St. Louis right fielder Marcell Ozuna recorded two hits and two RBIs on Thursday and is 16-for-39 with five homers and 13 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak. The Cardinals are 5-1 in the last six meetings between the two teams and 39-19 in their last 58 at home against the Dodgers. For L.A., Buehler is generally better at home than he is on the road.
Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals
Full-Game Total Pick
This is a solid pitching matchup that means runs may come at a premium on Friday. The under is 9-2 in the Dodgers’ last 11 against winning opponents and 6-2 in Buehler’s last eight starts. It is also 9-4-1 in the Cardinals’ last 14 at home against right-handed starters, 5-0 in Flaherty’s last five starts, and 5-2 in his last seven home starts. Additionally, the under is 35-17 in the last 52 meetings between the two teams and 14-6 in Los Angeles’ last 20 on the road against St. Louis. Look for this to stay under the total.
First Five Innings Side Pick
Getting +110 on the Cardinals through five innings is solid value, especially with Flaherty on the mound. Buehler struggles–relatively speaking–on the road, while St. Louis generally excels at home. Take the money and run!
Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals +110
First Five Innings Total Bet
Four isn’t much a five-inning total, but you should at least be able to come away with a push. Both Flaherty and Buehler are stellar pitchers and neither team has been setting the world on fire from an offensive standpoint of late.
Prediction: Under 4