Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:15 AM EST.
4:05 PM EST. We really hope that we’re not too late to this party. You see, the Cardinals have lost three in a row, six of seven and 12 of their last 15 games. St. Louis isn’t just losing games by a run or two either, they’re losing by lopsided scores on most nights and they will bring a completely depleted bullpen into this game to face the red-hot Rangers lineup. The Cards have been outscored 17-5 over their last two games and will rely on Dakota Hudson (RHP - ST. L) for some quality innings here but that’s not happening.
Hudson struck out two batters in six innings in his last start and the Cards lost 10-6 to the Pirates at their home pitcher-friendly park. In his start prior to getting pounded by the Buccos, Hudson started at home again, this time to the Phillies and the Cards lost that one too, this time by a score of 11-1. Hudson has pitched five straight games at pitcher friendly venues. The last time he started at a hitter-friendly venue was at Milwaukee and he lasted 3.2 innings in that start after allowing six earned runs. The Cards lost that day too, 10-7. Hudson continues to get bounced – hard – and has faltered and done so against lesser attacks than the one he’ll see here at this massive hitter’s park. This is such a great fade against a top-6 Ranger offense, one that hits righties hard (.818 OPS).
Ariel Juardo (RHP - TEX) made his MLB debut almost a year ago to the day when he checked in as Texas' No. 14 prospect. He had been a starter throughout his minor league career, and will fill that role for the Rangers in a spot capacity. Making the jump all the way from Double-A last year, he brought with him career stats of a 3.35 ERA, excellent control (1.8 BB’s/9) and a strikeout rate of 7.1 K’s/9. His stellar control rates are the keys to his success, as he stays around the plate and forces teams to put his sinkerball in play. He has some long-term potential to be an innings-eater and we also like that he pitched mostly in the difficult PCL league. Jurado has made eight appearances this year but they have all come out of the pen. He has only walked one batter in his 12 innings while striking out seven. Again, he’ll force the Cards to put the ball in play and is at the mercy of BABIP but he’s a starter by heart and also has an elite 63% ground-ball rate in his small sample size this year. The wager here, however, is all about fading the Cardinals and their garbage pitching alignment for this game.
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TEXAS +117 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.34)