Wednesday afternoon features a matchup of the NL Central versus the NL West when the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in the third of a three-game set. For the Cardinals, they have been smoking hot as of late, guaranteeing a spot in the postseason while trying to secure the NL Central.
For the Diamondbacks, they have fallen out of postseason contention and currently sit 21 games back of the first-place Dodgers. The matchup for this one features Michael Wacha (6-7, 4.68 ERA) going for the Cardinals against the Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly (12-14, 4.31 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 3:40 pm ET.
The moneyline for this matchup features both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Arizona Diamondbacks at -105. The over/under in terms of runs scored is set at 9.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, it is Arizona which holds an advantage. The Diamondbacks currently rank 11th overall, averaging 5.02 runs per game (4.92 at home). The Cardinals rank 20th, averaging 4.70 runs per game (4.65 on the road).
On the pitching side, it is the Cardinals who come out on top. They currently rank fifth in earned run average with a staff ERA of 3.80 (4.40 on the road). The Diamondbacks come in 12th with a team ERA of 4.30 (4.26 at home).
When you put it all together, it is St. Louis that comes out a little ahead in terms of run differential. The Cardinals rank 11th with a run differential of +104, while the Diamondbacks rank 13th with a run differential of +62.
Cardinals Look To Stay Hot
As they are looking to secure the NL Central, the Cardinals might be one of the hottest teams in the big leagues right now. Trying to keep it going on Wednesday will be righty Michael Wacha. On the season, Wacha is 6-7 in 28 games (23 starts) with a 4.68 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and opponents are hitting .287 against him. In 125 innings, he has allowed 139 hits, 65 earned runs, 26 home runs and has struck out 101 versus 53 walks.
On the offensive side, Tommy Edman continues to rake. In just 302 at-bats this season, Edman is hitting .298/.340/.500 with 11 home runs, 33 runs batted in and 55 runs scored. He has been especially hot of late, hitting .337/.385/.634 with six home runs and 11 runs batted in over the last 30 days.
Also hot in that time has been Yadier Molina. The future Hall-of-Famer is hitting .309/.359/.564 with six home runs, 16 runs batted in and 14 runs scored over the last month.
Diamondbacks Looking To Play Spoiler
While Arizona may be officially out of the postseason hunt, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be looking to try to finish out the season strong. Looking to take the last of the three games will be Merrill Kelly. On the season, Kelly is 12-14 in 31 starts with a 4.31 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and opponents are hitting .257 against him.
In 177 1/3 innings, Kelly has allowed 176 hits, 85 earned runs, 28 home runs and has struck out 151 versus 55 walks. He has been especially dominant of late, though. In his last four starts, he has a 1.00 ERA and has thrown 15 innings of scoreless baseball coming into this one.
Offensively, Eduardo Escobar has had a nice season. In 618 at-bats, he is hitting .270/.320/.519 with 35 home runs, 118 runs batted in and 94 runs scored. In his last 30 days, Escobar is hitting .290/.321/.505 with six home runs and 17 runs batted in. With Ketel Marte out for the season, Escobar becomes the main offensive threat for Arizona.
Cardinals Win Series
This is less about pitching matchups or other analytics and more about which team is just playing better baseball. It is hard to bet against the Cardinals right now, especially with the success that St. Louis has had recently.
When you take into account the Cardinals have the same moneyline as the Diamondbacks, it makes it even harder not to side with St. Louis. Granted, Wacha has been far from consistent, but Kelly hasn’t exactly been a Cy Young contender. For my money, I am going with the Cardinals until they come back down to Earth a little bit in terms of how they are playing.