The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants end their current three-game set on Thursday at Oracle Park.
St. Louis is 43-44 on the season and in 3rd place in the NL Central Division. The Giants meanwhile, are 53-32 on the season and they are the top team in the NL West, one game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and 4.5 games up on the San Diego Padres.
However, the Cardinals have been able to surprise the Giants by taking the first two games. On Tuesday, the Cardinals defeated the Giants 6-5 behind a pair of home runs by Nolan Arenado and Edmundo Sosa. San Francisco now has lost back-to-back games and hope to avoid getting swept at home by the Cardinals.
St. Louis Cardinals
Despite having terrific offensive players in their lineup, the St. Louis Cardinals have struggled on offense as they are ranked 28th in OPS at .676 with only the Marlins and Pirates worse this season. The Cardinals are scoring just an average of 3.94 runs per game this season and that has lessened to 3.27 runs per game in their last 26 outings.
Nolan Arenado leads the team with 16 home runs and 53 RBI while Tommy Edman’s .267 batting average is the best for the Cardinals. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is having an underwhelming season with only 44 RBI and 13 homers with a .744 OPS.
Johan Oviedo will open on top of the mound for the Cardinals. Oviedo is the 9th best prospect in the Cardinals organization but has struggled since he was called up in the majors. He has a five-pitch arsenal including a solid curveball which opponents are hitting at only .154 on the year. He has yet to win a game after 15 starts and is 0-7 to start his major league career. Oviedo has an ERA of 5.14 and a WHIP of 1.55.
Odds from BetOnline as of 07/07/2021
San Francisco Giants
The Giants have been one of the biggest surprises of the season as they lead the National League with an OPS of .758. They are also the best home run team in the majors with 126 homers on the season or an average of 1.5 per game. San Francisco has scored an average of 5.16 runs in their last 30 games.
Brandon Crawford is having a career year in San Francisco as he has 17 home runs, 52 RBI, and an OPS of .879 on the season. He is also the team’s best hitter at .246. Mike Yastrzemski and Evan Longoria have 31 and 30 RBI each. Buster Posey has 12 homers and 28 RBI on the season.
Alex Wood will get the start for the Giants in Game 3. Wood has a three-pitch arsenal and his slider is his best pitch with opposing hitters batting just .169 and slugging .305 against him. Wood has an ERA of 7-3 with an ERA of 3.89 and a WHIP of 1.19 this season. He has struck out 81 hitters while only walking 25.
The Cardinals are 8-20 in their last 28 games as betting underdogs. St. Louis is 5-13 in their last 18 games against an opponent with a winning record, 7-19 in their last 26 games as betting underdogs, 3-12 in their last 15 road games, 0-4 in their last four road games against a left-handed starter, and 1-4 in their last five overall against lefties.
The Giants are 6-1 in their last seven Game 3s of a series. San Francisco is 4-1 in their last five Wednesday games, 8-2 in their last 10 games against the National League Central, 19-8 in their last 27 games against a right-handed starter, and 45-19 in their last 64 games as betting favorites.
It was indeed frustrating for the Giants to drop the opening game of this series despite a solid effort from Kevin Gausman who allowed only two runs on three hits in seven innings pitched. But that performance was an exception as the Giants have been one of the most consistent offensive teams all season long.
Scoring runs should not be an issue against Oviedo. The 23-year old is one of the Cardinals’ best prospects but has yet to get his first victory in the majors and has a career ERA of over 5.00 with 26 walks and only 37 strikeouts.
San Francisco has the better team here in terms of talent and they have consistently outproduced their opponents this year. With Alex Wood pitching decently at home this season and Oviedo not reliable for St. Louis, I will have to pick the home team here.
Prediction: San Francisco Giants
The total has gone under in four out of the last five games played by the Cardinals. The under is 5-1 in their last six games played on the road, 4-1 in their last five games on grass, 5-2 in their last seven Game 3s of a series, and 5-2 in their last seven games against a left-handed starter.
The over is 11-4-1 in the Giants’ last 16 Game 3s of a series. The total has gone over in seven out of their last 10 games played at home. The over is 10-4 in their last 14 games as favorites, 8-2 in their last 10 games against an opponent with a losing record, and 4-1 in their last five games as home favorites.
The total has gone over in 9 out of the last 12 head-to-head meetings between these two teams. The over is 4-1 in their last five meetings in San Francisco.
Odds from BetOnline as of 07/07/2021
St. Louis ranks among the bottom team in the league when it comes to batting statistics. So if this game were to hit the over, it should be on the San Francisco Giants. Fortunately for San Francisco, the struggling. Oviedo is a pitcher who will give them that opportunity.
The Giants rank in the Top 5 in one base percentage and home runs per game. They are also 7th in runs per nine innings, and 11th in batting percentage. Those numbers are even better against right-handers and if they chase Oviedo early, the majority of the pitchers on the St. Louis’ bullpen are right-handers too.
Add the fact that Oracle Park is batter-friendly. I like the Giants to score big and help push the total to over 8.5 runs.
Prediction: Over 8.5