St. Louis Cardinals (87-63) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (103-46)
The St. Louis Cardinals head to Dodger Stadium in LA to open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers this Friday night, and the first pitch is set at 10:10 PM ET. These two National League foes meet for the second time this season, and the Dodgers outlasted the Cardinals 2-1 in a three-game series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis back in July.
The Dodgers are firm favorites for Friday’s battle against the Cards. Andrew Heaney (3-2; 2.66 ERA) is expected to take the mound for Los Angeles, while St. Louis will counter with Jose Quintana (5-6; 3.16 ERA).
The Cardinals need more from their offenseThursday’s games have been excluded from the analysis, and the St. Louis Cardinals were hoping to snap their three-game skid. They’ve also failed to score a single run in three straight games, losing to Cincinnati 3-0 and at San Diego 5-0 and 1-0 in the process. St. Louis has gone 11-8 in its first 19 contests in September while scoring just 69 runs on a poor .215/.294/.363 slash line.
On the other side of the ball, the Cards have registered a 3.49 ERA and 1.32 WHIP across 170 innings during that 19-game stretch. Their bullpen has thrown 26.2 frames in the last ten days and posted a shiny 1.35 ERA. St. Louis was topping the NL Central on Thursday, seven and a half games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers.
We've got a Thursday matinee in San Diego! pic.twitter.com/23yWWwKbwL— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 22, 2022
Jose Quintana has already met the Dodgers twice this season as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s gone 1-0, allowing just a couple of runs on nine hits and five walks across 10.1 innings of work. Since joining the Cardinals at the trade deadline, the veteran lefty has registered a sharp 2.44 ERA and 2.80 FIP in nine starts and 48 innings pitched.
Quintana has allowed only four earned runs over his previous four appearances. Last Saturday, Jose tossed eight shutout innings in a no-decision against the Cincinnati Reds, piling up six strikeouts and yielding just two hits.
The Dodgers lost two straight to the D-backsThe LA Dodgers were looking to stop their two-game slide and clinch a five-game home set against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night. After winning the first two games of the series 5-2 and 6-5, the Dodgers dropped two straight to the D-backs, 5-2 and 6-1.
The Dodgers have won 13 of their first 20 outings in September while posting the third-lowest ERA in the majors (2.78). They’ve also scored a staggering 108 runs, slashing .250/.330/.454 with 32 home runs and 40 extra-base hits across 685 at-bats. Los Angeles held the MLB-best record on Thursday, four and a half games ahead of the AL-leading Houston Astros.
After his HR in the 4th inning, Mookie Betts becomes the first Dodgers player with 35 home runs and 35 doubles in a season since Duke Snider in 1954, when the franchise was still in Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/n1tNc4axF9— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 22, 2022
Andrew Heaney will look to keep the good times rolling when he meets the Cardinals on Friday night. The 31-year-old southpaw has allowed just a couple of runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks over his last two starts and nine innings of work while punching out 14.
Heaney holds a sparkling 92/16 K/BB ratio in 13 starts (61 innings pitched) in 2022. He ranks in the 90th percentile in expected batting average and the 71st percentile in xwOBA, while Heaney’s slider (33.3 percent of usage) has a solid minus-5 run value.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams are very dangerous when hitting the lefties. The Cardinals own a 125 OPS+ against the southpaws, while the Dodgers have a 114 OPS+ versus the left-handed pitchers. However, the Cards have been awful at the plate lately, so I have to take the Dodgers to win straight up. We should see a tight battle, as the starting duo and both bullpens have been outstanding in the last few weeks.
Keep your eyes on Mookie Betts, who has homered every 12.4 at-bats against the left-handers this season. He’s 7-for-22 with a home run against Jose Quintana, and the current Dodgers are 35-for-128 versus the Cardinals’ lefty.
Full-Game Total Pick
I’ve mentioned how good the Cardinals’ bullpen has been in the last ten days, while the Dodgers’ bullpen has recorded a 1.72 ERA and 2.76 FIP across 36.2 innings in that span. Hereof, I’m backing the under on the totals even though both lineups are hitting well against the lefties.
The Cardinals have been one of the best offensive teams in the majors for most of the season, but they’ve slashed an ugly .177/.272/.245 in their previous 192 at-bats. On the other side, the Dodgers have slashed .255/.330/.372 over their last 239 at-bats.