One team is trying to inch closer to the top of their division while the other is trying to maintain their lead. On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals (43-40) will travel to Chase Field to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks (47-38) in the second game of a three game series. In the first game, the Cardinals won 6-3 behind home runs from Yadier Molina and Jedd Gyorko. The Diamondbacks will send out ace Zack Greinke (8-5, 3.41 ERA) to try to snap their four game losing streak. On the other side of the diamond, the Cardinals will be sending out righty Jack Flaherty (3-3, 2.92 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 9:40 pm ET.
The moneyline for the game is set at the St. Louis Cardinals +125 and the Arizona Diamondbacks -135. The over/under on runs scored is set at 7.5.
Cardinals Trying To Stay Within Striking Distance
Currently sitting in third place in the NL Central, 5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cardinals do not have a whole lot of room for error. In their last five games, they are 1-4 and are moving in the wrong direction with the Brewers, and especially the Cubs, playing decent ball as of late. Regardless, they will look to ensure the series win tomorrow against the Diamondbacks with Jack Flaherty on the mound.
On the season, Flaherty is 3-3 with a 2.92 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and is allowing opponents to hit just .211 against him. In 61.2 innings pitched, he has 73 strikeouts and only 18 walks. He has allowed 9 home runs to date. While Flaherty has been pretty good this year, his last start left something to be desired. He took the loss against the Cleveland Indians, going only 4 innings and giving up 4 earned runs. He will look to get back on track Tuesday.
Offensively, Matt Carpenter has finally started to turn it around. After a very sluggish beginning of the season, Carpenter has hit .323/.422/.657 with a 1.079 OPS over the last 30 days. In that time he has 8 home runs, 15 runs batted in and has scored 26 runs. If the Cardinals hope to contend, they will need strong play out of Carpenter and the rest of the offense. One player who has not performed well, and is even being called out by the front office, is Dexter Fowler. The Cardinal’s outfielder is hitting just .171/.276/.278 with a .554 OPS.
Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear
While the Diamondbacks gave themselves a decent cushion at the beginning of the year, they are starting to feel pressure from both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. With just 2.5 games separating the three teams, the Diamondbacks are going to need to start turning their mediocre play around if they hope to hold onto the divisional lead. They did get some good news on Monday night as they were able to reinstate A.J. Pollock from the disabled list.
The star center fielder went 0 for 4 on Monday, but his presence in the lineup will be a huge boost. Another huge boost has been the recent play of Paul Goldschmidt. After a terrible start to the season, he really turned it around in the month of June, even winning N.L. player of the month. In the last 30 days he has hit .393/.488/.766 with a 1.255 OPS. In that time he had 10 home runs, 25 runs batted in and scored 24 runs.
The Diamondbacks are also hoping that Zack Greinke stays hot. In his last start, a 4-0 win over Miami, Greinke went 7 innings of shutout ball, striking out 6. On the season he is 8-5 with a 3.41 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and opponents are hitting .240 against him. In 103 innings he has 108 strikeouts versus only 19 walks, but has allowed 16 home runs.
Greinke, Offense Lead Diamondbacks To Win
While Greinke may not be the absolute lockdown ace that he once was, he is still a pretty darn good pitcher. Couple that with a pretty good offense and the Diamondbacks are pretty tough to beat when he is on the mound. I think Flaherty will pitch well for the Cardinals, but ultimately, I like the Diamondbacks chances in this one. I am taking the Diamondbacks at -135.