Arizona Diamondbacks at St. Louis Cardinals
First pitch: 5:15 p.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Robbie Ray (6-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (5-7, 4.31 ERA)
When dealing with games right out of the All-Star break, it can be crucial leaning on established pitchers who are familiar with re-entering the grind. These are human beings, too, after all and it can be easy to succumb to human nature, or in the case of certain pitchers, lax up when going back to work after extended time off.
That shouldn’t be a concern with Wainwright, the 15-year veteran St. Louis right-hander who will be in a position to thrive tonight to open up the second half.
And it’s not just because Wainwright has typically pitched considerably better at Busch Stadium throughout his career, but it’s always worth noting whenever the 37-year-old takes the mound in front of the Cardinals’ faithful. His lifetime numbers at home (2.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) are far superior than what he’s produced on the road (3.90 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), and it’s a trend that’s once again rung true this season.
“Waino” has made eight starts away from St. Louis, going 1-5 with an ugly 6.20 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. At Busch, though, he’s 4-2 in his eight home assignments to go alongside a 2.68 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.
But aside from all that, Wainwright has really shown a tendency to come out in a groove following the Midsummer Classic. He’s made eight such starts in a natural rotation to commence his second half (other years he was either out with injury or not starting), and in those outings, Wainwright engineered an impressive 2.35 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across 53.2 innings. In all but one of those starts, he pitched the Cardinals into the sixth inning or deeper, and in six of the eight, he yielded two earned runs or fewer.
As long as Wainwright continues to be a model of consistency in that regard, there figures to be plenty of promise from Ray to do the rest while serving well in his role.
The sixth-year southpaw has been pretty consistent in his own right, allowing no more than four runs in all but two of his 19 starts on the campaign. His 1.35 WHIP might be a little high but Ray is also holding opponents to a .227 batting average, which is 12th lowest in the National League. To put that in perspective, he ranks in between Walker Buehler and Jacob deGrom.
Additionally, Ray has continued to rack up strikeouts at a healthy rate, which could be something else that helps ensure an upward trend. His 11.78 K/9 rank him second in the NL, behind only Max Scherzer.
The injured Yadier Molina being will also provide a boost to Ray, and although that can also hurt Wainwright, the catcher expected to start in this one, rookie Andrew Knizner, has actually caught Waino twice already. The results were good (2.19 ERA), so Molina’s absence as the battery mate shouldn’t be a factor. Play: UNDER 8.5 (-115)
Last Result: Royals-Nationals Under 9.5 (WIN)
Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 51-43-7, +2.85 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
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