On Thursday, the Arizona Diamondbacks (5-1) will travel to take on the St. Louis Cardinals (3-3) at Busch Stadium with a first pitch scheduled for 7:15 pm ET. This is the first game of a three game series. The matchup will feature Robbie Ray (1-0) for the Diamondbacks taking on Adam Wainwright (0-0) for the Cardinals
The moneyline for the game is set at Arizona Diamondbacks +114 and the St. Louis Cardinals at -124. The over/under on total runs scored is set at 8.
Robbie Ray Looks For A Better Start
Despite getting the win in last Friday’s 9-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies, Robbie Ray looked pretty shaky during his first outing. He gave up seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in only five innings of work. Ray struck out eight, but he also walked three, threw two wild pitches and allowed three home runs. There was also a noticeable difference in his fastball velocity (averaged 92.6 mph Friday versus 94.5 mph in 2017), but that may also be just early season rust. Despite the rough initial outing, he is a bounce back candidate in this start as the Cardinals deploy a lineup that isn’t nearly as intimidating as the Rockies.
As a whole, though, the Diamondbacks have been on a role to start the season. They took two of three from the Rockies before sweeping the defending N.L. champion Los Angeles Dodgers. While All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has gotten off to a slow start (4 for 17 from the plate), the Diamondbacks have gotten plenty of offense from other members of the lineup. Shortstop Nick Ahmed has hit well to start the season hitting for a .471 average to go along with one home run and seven RBI’s. In fact, the offense has put up six or more runs in four of their first six games.
Cardinals Look To Win Home Opener
After a 3-3 start to the season, including a 6-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, the St. Louis Cardinals will be excited to come home to play in front of their own fans for the first time this season. To give them even a little more energy, Adam Wainwright will be returning from the disabled list to make his season debut. The veteran right-hander had been on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. In a corresponding move, rookie Jack Flaherty was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Last season, Wainwright was 12-5 with a 5.11 ERA, 1.5 WHIP, 4.29 FIP and a 2.73 K:BB ratio. All of those stats were career worsts. Since missing most of the 2015 season, Wainwright’s numbers have been trending in the wrong direction. While still a fan favorite, he is no longer the ace of the staff that he once was. Regardless, in his season debut and the Cardinal’s home opener, he will certainly be hoping for a good outing.
Offensively, Paul DeJong has gotten off to a fast start for the Cardinals. He is currently batting .455 (10 for 22), with 3 home runs, 5 RBI’s and a 1.364 OPS. Yadier Molina has also started the season well with 3 home runs and 5 RBI’s of his own.
Diamondbacks over Cardinals
The Diamondbacks have gotten off to a hot start this season and I don’t think that is going to change on Thursday. For me, the outcome of this game comes down to Robbie Ray. If he resembles more of the pitcher from last year, where he went 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA and a K/9 of 12.1, the Diamondbacks win this game easily. If he pitches like he did on opening day, it could be either team’s ballgame. I predict it will fall somewhere in between, which is good enough for you to bet on the Diamondbacks at the +114. Take the Arizona Diamondbacks at +114.
From an over/under perspective, I am going with the under. While I think the Diamondbacks will put up some runs on the Cardinal’s pitching, I don’t think it will be enough to offset the deficiency in runs the Cardinal’s score. Again, I think there is a good chance that Robbie Ray throws well and holds the Cardinals to only one or two runs.