St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks
First pitch: 6:40 p.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Jack Flaherty (10-8, 2.96 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (12-11, 4.38 ERA)
If only his second half was how he began the 2019 campaign, there’s no question Flaherty would be a candidate for the National League Cy Young Award; probably the leading one, too.
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Since the All-Star break, simply no pitcher in baseball has been better. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, it’s reminiscent of the historic incredible second-half run put together by Jake Arrieta a few years ago. Just like the then-Chicago Cub, Flaherty has pretty much been unhittable each time out.
There’s really no other way to call it, considering the Cardinal right-hander has yielded only 10 runs total — total! — in his 13 starts following the Midsummer Classic. In all but one of those, he allowed two earned runs or fewer, with the other outing seeing him give up three. Even that can be accepted when vying for an under of 8.5.
But Flaherty looks like he can be counted on for one of his usual dominant performances. These are important games for St. Louis, after all, and Flaherty will look to capitalize on a downgraded D-backs lineup that is without core slights Eduardo Escobar, Ketel Marte and David Peralta.
It’s clear he’s still locked in, too, and not waning. Flaherty has registered six consecutive quality starts entering tonight, and during his last three turns in the rotation, the 23-year-old collected a whopping 28 K’s, his most during any three-start stretch of his young career.
So long as Flaherty just keeps it going, that would provide the other starting pitcher here some room for error, which is crucial seeing that how Leake is not an overpowering guy.
At the same time, the 10-year veteran comes into this assignment on his most consistent streak of the season, too. In fact, it’s even somewhat comparable to what his counterpart has done as of late, having notched five quality starts in a row.
This is a tough assignment to keep that up but the key for Leake in at least hanging around here and contributing positively to this bet is that he’ll be at home tonight.
As highlighted in an under involving Leake last week, he’s been notably better in his home starts, recording a 3.38 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. By comparison, he’s managed just a 5.59 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in the road.
Leake has continued this trend with his new club, pitching to the acceptable tune of a 4.08 ERA in six starts at Chase Field. Something around there would do the trick while Flaherty, who is as trusting as anyone in the game right now, leads the way. Play: UNDER 8.5 (-115)
Yesterday’s Result: Marlins-Mets Under 8.5 (loss)
2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 85-77-12, -1.85 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
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