It will be an NL Central versus AL West Interleague showdown on Tuesday when the St. Louis Cardinals (41-41) travel to T-Mobile Park to take on the Seattle Mariners (37-51). Both of these teams enjoyed a much needed day off on Monday after they both had lost the prior series they played in over the weekend. For the Cardinals, it was losing two of three to the Padres (they salvaged the finale), while for the Mariners, they were swept over the weekend by the Houston Astros.
While the Mariners already find themselves 17.5 games back in their division, the Cardinals are still very much alive, sitting only 3.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers. The pitching matchup for this one features Jack Flaherty (4-5, 4.75) going for the Cardinals against the Mariners’ Matt Carasiti (0-0, 0.00 ERA). For full disclosure, Carasiti will likely just serve as an opener for Matt LeBlanc. First pitch for this one is scheduled for 10:10 pm ET.
The moneyline for this contest is set at the St. Louis Cardinals -134 and the Seattle Mariners +124. The over/under for runs scored is set at 9.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, the Seattle Mariners have actually been pretty good. On the season, they rank eighth in the majors, averaging 5.18 runs per game (5.07 at home). For the Cardinals, they come in 21st with an average of 4.46 runs per game (4.40 on the road).
On the pitching side, it is St. Louis that holds the upper hand. They rank ninth overall with a staff ERA of 4.15 (4.91 on the road). For the Mariners, they come in second to last at 29th with a 5.21 ERA (5.32 at home).
When you put it all together, St. Louis edges out the Mariners in the run differential category, although both teams currently reside in the negatives. For St. Louis, they rank 17th with a -1 run differential while the Mariners ranks 23rd with a -65 run differential.
Cardinals Need Wins
The Cardinals have to feel fortunate to still be within striking distance of the NL Central lead despite their inconsistent play. At 3.5 games back, they know that every game is important and will look to take down a struggling Mariners team this week.
To get out on the right foot, they will turn to Jack Flaherty on the mound. This season, he is 4-5 in 16 starts with a 4.75 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and opponents are hitting .241 against him. In 85 1/3 innings, he has allowed 78 hits, 45 earned runs, 18 home runs and has struck out 94 versus 27 walks. In his last outing, a 7-3 loss to the Oakland A’s, Flaherty went 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out five. He allowed three home runs in that contest and has to be better against a Mariners team that is capable of hitting the ball out of the yard.
On the offensive side, the Cardinals are unfortunately without star outfielder Marcell Ozuna for the near future. To have success, they are going to need others to step up, in particular, Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt, who the Cardinals traded for and extended in the offseason, is hitting just .246/.336/.405 with 14 home runs, 31 runs batted in and 46 runs scored. When they acquired the slugging first baseman, this is far from what they had expected in terms of a return. One player who has done well is Paul DeJong, who was selected to the National League All-Star team. He is hitting .260/.345/.458 with 13 home runs, 36 runs batted in and 53 runs scored.
Mariners Trying To Save Face
Despite a really solid start to the season, the Mariners have fallen flat and have already shown they are willing to move some of their players. With that in mind, they don’t have a whole lot to play for other than pride as they will focus more on trading away assets at the deadline than trying to acquire them. As they have done recently, Matt Carasiti will open in this one while lefty Wade LeBlanc (5-2, 5.27 ERA) will likely get the bulk of the innings.
On the offensive side, Dan Vogelbach will look to continue to mash the ball. On the season, he is hitting .244/.379/.519 with 20 home runs, 48 runs batted in and 47 runs scored. With Edwin Encarnacion traded from the team, he is now the team leader in home runs. Another player who has had a nice season is Domingo Santana. The leftfielder is hitting .278/.348/.499 with 18 home runs, 62 runs batted in and 48 runs scored.
Cardinals Take Game One
I will be honest in saying I don’t love either team in this one. Seattle’s pitching has been atrocious this season, but Flaherty has been far from stellar as well. Ultimately, it comes down to who has more to play for when looking at this one. While these are all professionals and they will go out and do their job, the Cardinals have to have some sense of urgency knowing they are right in the thick of the NL Central race. It would not insult me if you wanted to take the Mariners as underdogs, but for my money, I am taking the Cardinals at -134.