Take 906 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS -106 over Chicago Cubs (3:30 pm PT)
Central Division rivals St. Louis and Chicago square off in the opener of the best-of-five NLDS at Busch Stadium in St. Louis where former teammates John Lackey (-106) and Jon Lester (-102) will lock horns in the mound matchup. The Cardinals took 11 of the 18 meetings in the regular season, though the Cubs won 6 of the final 9.
Chicago (98-65) picked up its first postseason win since 2003 on Tuesday with a 4-0 victory over Pittsburgh. They’ll face a well-rested flock of Cardinals (100-62) who received a lift on Thursday with news that catcher Yadier Molina will play in the series. The veteran backstop strained his left thumb in a game against the Cubs on Sept. 20.
The battle on the bump will feature the lefty Lester against the right-hander Lackey. Both were members of the 2013 MLB champion Red Sox and each have been money in the postseason. Lester’s October record is 6-4 with a 2.57 ERA while Lackey is 7-5 with a 3.08 ERA in 21 career postseason games.
Lester (11-12, 3.34 ERA) closed out the regular season in strong fashion holding opponents to 2 or fewer earned runs in 5 of his final 6 starts. He made 5 starts against the Cardinals this season going 1-3 with a 2.59 ERA.
Lackey (13-10) excelled at home this season posting a 9-4 record and an ERA of 1.93. Two of those Busch Stadium starts came against the Cubs in which he allowed just 3 runs 14.2 innings of work. In his career vs. Chicago, Lackey is 3-1 with a 1.94 ERA in 6 career starts.
The Cubs are 3-9 in their last 12 visits to St. Louis but are 10-1 in their last 11 road games. Chicago is 1-9 in its last 10 playoff games.
The OVER is 7-1-1 in the last 9 series meetings. Tonight’s total is mostly at 6.5 although a few books have set the number at 7.