Cleveland Indians (42-33) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (39-36)
Where and when: Busch Field, St. Louis, Missouri, Monday, 8:15 pm EST
Game 1 of a 3-game set between the Cleveland Indians and the St. Louis Cardinals will take place at Busch Field in St. Louis, Missouri, on Monday night at 8:15 pm EST. the Indians currently occupy the top spot within the AL Central division while the Cards are in 3rd place within the NL Central division. In their last outing, the Indians were 4-1 winners over the Detroit Tigers on 6-23-2018 to win their 6th in a row. Cleveland cashed in on the money line as huge favorites (-260) while the under was the play in that the total was set at 8.5 runs for the game. Francisco Lindor went 2-4 for the day while bringing in an RBI while Trevor Bauer (7-5) would get the win by pitching 6.1 innings while allowing 1 run on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 11 strikeouts with an ERA of 2.44. The losing pitcher was Francisco Liriano (3-3) who went 4 innings while giving up 3 runs on 4 hits, 3 walk, and 3 strikeouts with an ERA of 3.94. The Cardinals, on the other hand, broke a 3-game skid by beating the Milwaukee Brewers on the road in game 3 of their 4-game road set by a score of 3-2 on 6-23-2018. The Cardinals cashed in on the money line as slight favorites (-106) while the under was the play in that the total was set at 9 runs for the game. Yadier Molina was the man of the day as he went 2-4 with 3 RBI’s for the game. Miles Mikolas (8-2) picked up the win as he pitched 6.2 innings while allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 5 punch outs with an ERA of 2.69. Chase Anderson did not figure into the decision as he pitched 5 innings while allowing 1 run on 5 hits, 4 walks, 1 homer, and 9 strikeouts with an ERA of 4.37.
The St. Louis Cardinals enter this matchup losers of 3 of their last 5 games to where the O/U is 2-3. For the season, the Cardinals are averaging 4.21 runs per game (20th) with a team batting average of .240 (18th), 97 homers (8th), along with 27 stolen bases (25th). Their pitching staff has an ERA of 3.71 (10th) with 633 strikeouts (19th) and 32 quality starts on the year (16th).
Clevinger Eyes 3rd Straight Win
The Cleveland Indians come into this matchup winners of their last 5 games to where the O/U was 3-2. For the season, the Indians are averaging 4.96 runs per game (4th) with a team batting average of .253 (8th), 106 homers (3rd) along with 53 stolen bases (5th). Their pitching staff has an ERA of 3.89 (14th) with 695 strikeouts (7th), along with 49 quality starts, good for 2nd in the MLB.
Mike Clevinger (6-2) will come to the Hill for the Indians in game 1 looking to build upon an impressive streak to where he was only credited with 4 earned runs in his last 4 starts. In his last outing, he pitched 7.2 innings while allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 10 strikeouts in a 6-3 home win versus the Chicago White Sox on 6-19-2018. The Indians are just 3-4 with Clevinger on the mound in his last 7 starts while the under has been the play in 2 of his last 3 starts. This will be the right-hander’s first crack at neutralizing this Indian’s lineup, however, he is 2-0 in last 3 games with a 1.69 ERA along with 26 strikeouts.
Gant To Make 4th Start of 2018
John Gant (1-2) will reportedly come to the hill for the Cardinals in the opener looking to erase the remnants of his last outing to where he pitched, in relief status, only 2 innings yet allowing 4 runs on 3 hits and 3 strikeouts in an 11-3 romp on the road against the Milwaukee Brewers on 6-21-2018. His last outing as a starter against the Indians was on 6-27-2017 when he pitched 2 innings while allowing 1 run on 3 hits in an 8-3 loss. Gant has been charged with 13 runs in his last 8 appearances while the Cardinals are 0-5 in his last 5 starts.
Though with not much experience against this lineup, Gant has had much success against many of the Indian’s batters. Lonnie Chisenhall (0-1), Rajai Davis (0-1), Jason Kipnis (0-1), Tyler Naquin (0-1), and Jose Ramirez (0-1) have had trouble figuring out Gant in the past. Francisco Lindor (1-1) has had the most success against the righty for St. Louis.
- The Indians are 23-6 in last 29 Monday games
- The Cardinals are 3-8 in last 11 games
- The Cardinals are 3-8 in last 11 games on grass
One would have to think that with the run the Indians are currently on (winners of 12 of 17) along with the talented pitching staff in which they possess, they will certainly be able to handle this inconsistent Cardinal’s offense that has only averaged a total of 2.5 runs per game in their last 4. Besides, Clevinger has certainly pitched well lately and while Gant can get erratic at times, he has had decent experience against this Cleveland lineup in his young career. In all, I will side with the under in this contest in that both teams seem to trend towards the under more often than not (3 of the last 4 for St. Louis & 11 of last 17 for Cleveland).