ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (61-57)
at BOSTON RED SOX (67-51)
First pitch: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. ET
Line: St. Louis +135, Boston -145, Total: 9.5
The Cardinals will be hoping to get right back in the win column with a win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
St. Louis had won eight straight games before dropping Sunday’s meeting with Atlanta. The Braves won that won 6-3, but the Cardinals should still be feeling very good about the way they are playing. The Cardinals are just 1.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central right now, and a division victory is really their only chance of making it to the playoffs. They know how important this series is, as the Cubs have won two straight and are also feeling pretty good about themselves. As for the Red Sox, this team is also rolling right now. They are also coming off of a loss, but that shouldn’t rattle them too much. They are running away with the AL East and are hoping to keep it up with a win in this series. The starters in this Tuesday night matchup are set to be RHP Mike Leake (7-10, 3.48 ERA, 95 K) for St. Louis and RHP Rick Porcello (6-14, 4.63 ERA, 139 K) for Boston. It wouldn’t be surprising if there were a lot of runs scored here. St. Louis is 10-0 OVER versus AL teams with an on-base percentage of .330 or worse this season. The Cardinals are also, however, a lousy 10-20 against the money line versus teams that have a bullpen with a WHIP of 1.250 or better this season.
The Cardinals are hoping to get back on track with a win on Tuesday, but Mike Leake is going to need to pitch well here. Leake was lousy in his last trip to the mound, as he allowed four earned runs on 11 hits in 5.0 innings of work against the Royals on Aug. 9. If he lets up double digits in hits again in this one then it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals finding a way to win here. Then again, St. Louis did win that game he started against Kansas City. If the offense has it going then it really won’t matter how he does. The Cardinals are facing a very hittable Porcello right now, and they have some guys that will definitely be hoping to make him pay for any mistakes here. One player to keep an eye on in this one is 1B Matt Carpenter (.250 BA, 15 HR, 56 RBI). Carpenter has struggled a bit over the past five games, as he is 4-for-20 in those contests. He could, however, get back on track here, as his lefty swing is a good match for a starter like Porcello. St. Louis also has plenty of other guys that will be able to produce in this one.
The Red Sox have been waiting for Rick Porcello to turn things around all season, but the 2016 AL Cy Young winner just has not found any type of consistency. He was solid in his last start, allowing just two earned runs against the Rays on Aug. 9. He did, however, allowed five earned runs in his previous start. At this point, Boston would be happy if he gave them a quality start in every trip to the mound. That is, however, easier said than done. On offense, the Sox have had no trouble putting runs on the board lately. One guy that has really had it going is OF Andrew Benintendi (.278 BA, 17 HR, 67 RBI). Benintendi is on an eight-game hitting streak coming into this one, and he has now gotten his average up from .268 to .278 over the past 10 games. He has racked up 13 RBI in that span, and the Sox are hoping that he can have a big series against St. Louis here.