Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
Chicago -109 over ST. LOUIS
7:15 PM EST. Adbert Alzolay (RHP - CHC) is tabbed for this start at St. Louis. The Cardinals struggled against Alzolay in two outings last season, and the right-hander heads into this game with a fine 3.28 xERA this season. The Cardinals have a platoon blind spot against RHPs (.691 OPS), which bodes well for Alzolay here. Dude is good with 39 K’s in 37 frames while issuing just seven free passes.
The target here is starter Miles Mikolas (RHP, STL). Mikolas ended the 2019 with a sore flexor tendon that wound up lingering into 2020, and while it was initially thought he might be able to pitch, the injury eventually led to season-ending surgery. Once again, this spring, the outlook was optimistic that he'd be ready to start the season, but he experienced shoulder soreness after his initial workouts and began the year on the IL. He’ll now make his first start at this level since Oct 11, 2019.
The Cardinals are paying Mikolas 15 million this year, 15 million next year and 15 million in 2023 so they are going to use him until his fucking arm falls off. We’re not suggesting that he’s not ready but we’re also suggesting that the Cardinals are running out of patience on an 65 million dollar investment that has been on the mattress since October of 2019. Just remember that everything is about money and then you can embrace the dynamics more.
When Mikolas was healthy in 2018-19, even though his ERA went through sizable fluctuations, his skills were consistent. He was a low-walk, high-groundball pitcher but he was also a below-average contributor in strikeouts, which limited his upside. His xBB% suggests his walk rate might rise a bit, and in general, it's difficult to sustain a rate as low as 4%, so we might indeed see a few more walks from him, especially after such a long layoff. That figures to push his K-BB%, which has been right around league average, to a below-average level, and would raise his xERA and WHIP so it's something that bears watching for future decisions. A starter off a two-year layoff, who was pretty average to begin with (he spent four years in Korea because he couldn’t crack a MLB roster), is not worthy of being evenly priced against Adbert Alzolay.
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Chicago -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)