Cardinals staff sure to be taxed

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The regular season has passed the one-third point for most teams. All but five teams have played at least 20 games with four of the others having played at least 16. 

The lone outlier is St. Louis. Due to postponements caused by COVID-19 the Cardinals had played just 10 games through Monday. That has necessitated at least 11 doubleheaders for St Louis which would result in 58 games out of the 60 originally scheduled. And that’s if the two missing games are not rescheduled and no other postponements take place. 

Thus the Cards will play 21 August games and 32 in September in addition to the five played before their play was halted following their game on July 29.

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But the problem facing the Cardinals also affects the teams involved in those postponements but to a lesser degree. Those opponents will also be forced to obviously play additional doubleheaders over the remainder of the season.

It means issues with juggling the rotation and handling of the bullpens, factors to bear in mind for both teams that could result in both games of late season doubleheaders producing Overs for totals players.

The Yankees continue to win by margins of two runs or more in 15 of their 16 victories. They’ve been favored in 21 of their 22 games. Their lone game as a non-favorite resulted in a 4-3 loss at Tampa Bay at even money.

Through Monday, the Bronx Bombers had baseball’s best record (16-6) and were averaging 5.7 runs per game, second only to the Dodgers (by a scant tenth of a run). In the five games played since both sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were sidelined, the Yanks have scored 37 runs and have been held below six runs just once.

Here are three selections for games later this week.

Friday/Saturday

Phillies at Braves: Atlanta’s off to a 14-9 start despite a rotation that’s been hampered by injuries and ineffectiveness. The glaring exception has been 26 year old lefty Max Fried. In just his second season as a full time starter Fried has been nothing short of brilliant. 

With Mike Soroka lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, Fried has assumed the ace role. The Braves are 5-0 in his starts with Fried posting a 1.24 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. Two of the wins were by 2-1 scores.

The projected matchup has Fried facing Zack Wheeler. The former Met has pitched well for Philly which should keep the price to back Fried reasonable, perhaps -140 or less. If the price is above -150 it’s OK to lay the run and a half to back Fried and the Braves. FRIED over Phillies 

Saturday/Sunday

Twins at Royals: These AL Central rivals have already met seven times with the Royals having won four, including a sweep of their three-game series here two weekends ago. Yet the Royals are in last place, trailing the first place Twins by six games. Thus against their other opponents the Twins are a very strong 12-4. 

Randy Dobnak has earned a spot in the Twins’ rotation after just nine appearances as a rookie in 2019. The 25-year-old has fared quite well in his five starts this season. He’s not been asked to go deep, pitching between four and six innings. But they’ve been effective innings as Dobnak’s posted a 1.42 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. 

The Twins have won four of his five starts, providing just 4.0 runs per game of support (over the full nine innings, not just the innings he’s pitched).  Minnesota will be solid favorites in Dobnak’s start but the preferred play here will be for the first five innings if the line is -150 or less. If higher than -150 lay the run and a half. DOBNAK over Royals

Saturday/Sunday

Diamondbacks at Giants: Following a slow start to its season Arizona has been playing outstanding baseball, winning seven of nine and riding a five-game winning streak into Tuesday’s action. And that’s despite poor efforts from their top two starting pitchers — the currently injured Madison Bumgarner and Robbie Ray. 

In their place, 25-year-old Zac Gallen has emerged as the de facto ace. Four of his five starts have gone at least six innings and he’s yet to allow more than two runs in any start. With a 2.40 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 30 innings Gallen’s posted an impressive 36-8 strikeout to walk ratio (and five walks came in one start). 

Little is expected of the Giants and they’re off to an 8-16 start, already nine games out of the NL West lead. Arizona will be favored in Gallen’s start but being on the road might depress the price. At above -150 lay the run and a half. Otherwise, play him straight. GALLEN over Giants

Last week: 2-0

Season: 7-3

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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