The opening odds start here
St Louis/Miami over 4.5 -110:
It was certainly a rough weekend for the Cardinals (31-32) as they fell below .500 courtesy of being victimized to a sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs. Last night at Wrigley in front of a national audience, Kyle Schwarber went 2 for 3 with 2 runs driven in, and newly acquired Carlos Gonzalez belted a solo HR as the north siders clubbed the birds 5-1. Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant also collected 2 hits apiece while Kyle Hendricks proved to be masterful again allowing just a run on 8 hits through 7 striking out 3 without walking a batter improving to 7-4 overall. Pedro Strop recorded the final out of the game for his 7th save in 9 opportunities. Adam Wainwright lasted just 4 1/3 innings due to hamstring tightness and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits falling to 5-6. Marcell Ozuna went 3 for 4 with a run scored on an RBI single by Kolten Wong, the only offense for the redbirds. The Cubs remained tied for first with Milwaukee atop the NL Central while the Cards fell 5.5 games off the pace. St Louis heads south to face Miami (23-40) who dropped their 4th straight and got swept by Atlanta this weekend, including a 7-6 defeat yesterday in 12 innings. The Braves overcame a 5-1 deficit in the ninth against closer Sergio Romo. One run came home on a balk, and Ronald Acuna tied the score with one out by pulling an 0-1 slider for his 14th homer. Both teams scored in the 10th, the Braves thanks to four consecutive two-out walks by Tyler Kinley. Ozzie Albies hit a one-out triple in the 12th off Adam Conley (1-6) and scored on Matt Joyce’s third hit of the game.Dan Winkler picked up his 3rd win of the season in relief notching 2 outs in the 12th and Josh Tomlin earned his first save closing it out. Austin Dean went 3 for 4 with 3 runs driven in and 2 scored, including his 2nd HR of the season. Adam Conley took the loss, and fell to 1-6 seeing his ERA balloon to 7.33.

The fish send Sandy Alcantara (3-5 3.80) to the hill who has endured some tough luck when it comes to run support these days, making his 3-5 mark look rather deceiving. The 23 year old third year right hander has been sparkling in his last few outings, pitching 6 scoreless but earning a no decision in a 3-1 loss to San Francisco. Alcantara followed that start up with another quality performance hurling 7 strong in Milwaukee allowing a run on 5 hits with one walk and 5 strikeouts in an 8-3 win. He faces a Cardinals lineup batting just .247 overall but averaging 4.7 runs per contest with 79 HR ranking 10th in the NL. Many fans and Busch faithful expected Paul Goldschmidt (.272 12 27) to factor in nicely with his new team, however his numbers and on the field performance have thus far fell short of his standards. The former snake has shown his vintage self at times but others has underachieved especially in run scoring opportunities. Ozuna (.259 17 54) leads the club in power and production while 4th in the NL in RBI posing a dangerous presence at the plate. The 28 year old 8th year outfielder is 7 for his last 19 (.369) over his last 4 games. Paul DeJong (.270 10 29) just saw a modest 5 game hitting streak end but has provided timely hitting for a team that needs to get their offense going after a weekend reprieve. Yadier Molina (.265 4 33) continues to rehab from a thumb injury and is otherwise having an atypical campaign compared to his quality standards. Matt Carpenter (.225 9 22) seems to be recovering from a slow start hitting safely in 7 of his last 8 (.308).

The Cards counter with Michael Wacha (3-2 6.30) who hasn’t lasted past the 5th inning in over a month. Wacha is entering his 7th season at just 27 years old, but has coughed up 12 ER over his last 8 IP (13.50) dropping his last 2 starts. Wacha’s WHIP ballooned to 1.83 this far this season and has struggled with his control and overall mechanics. He faces a Miami lineup hitting just .235 overall and scoring only 3.5 runs per contest with a league worst 48 HR. Neil Walker (.298 4 14) has been diminished to a limited role this season and just saw his 5 game hitting streak snapped (.467). Jorge Alfaro (.269 9 25) leads the fish in HR but has been slumping as of late batting just .200 over his last 8 games. Brian Anderson (.241 7 27) had a recent 6 game hitting streak (.375) but is just 2 for his last 16 (.125) despite leading the Marlins in RBI. Miguel Rojas (.269 0 17) is hitting .385 over the last week and has played a solid game at shortstop. Starlin Castro (.235 4 27) had 4 multi-hit games last week but is slightly off last season’s numbers.

Marlins Park has not exactly been a hitter’s delight even from the days of Joe Robbie Stadium. However, despite remaining in last place in the NL East did have a recent impressive run winning 13 of 18 and averaged nearly 6 runs per contest until dropping off their last 4 games. With the roof closed the ball does not especially carry well at 408 to dead center and 392 to the power alleys,but truthfully on paper Miami has underachieved offensively when you look at the roster. They should be able to fish out a few runs here and there against Wacha, who could be pitching for his rotation life tonight. With Ozuna and Goldschmidt leading the charge, it’s anybody’s guess as to how long Alcantara can remain efficient as St Louis looks to get back to their winning ways.


The opening odds start here
Pittsburgh/Atlanta over 5.5 even:
The Braves’ sweep of the Marlins over the weekend propelled Atlanta to move to within just a game of NL East leading Philadelphia. The Bravos are now 20-14 away from Suntrust Field and return this evening to host Pittsburgh (30-34) who were swept this weekend by Milwaukee. The Pirates now trail Chicago and Milwaukee by 7 full games after a 5-2 loss at Miller Park yesterday. Christian Yelich crushed his major league leading 24th HR of the season and Mike Moustakas added a 2 run bomb, his 20th. Jeremy Jeffress picked up the win in relief for the Brew Crew hurling a perfect 8th inning after Milwaukee broke a 2-2 tie. Josh Hader earned his 16th save in 17 opportunities, striking out the side in the 9th while walking a batter. Francisco Liriano took the loss allowing all 3 Brewers runs in the 8th without recording an out, falling to 1-1. Jung Ho Kang provided the only offense for the Buccos with a 2 run HR in the second inning, his 5th of the season. These teams begin a 4 game series tonight.

Atlanta sends Kevin Gausman (2-5 6.15) to the hill this evening. The 28 year old 7 year right hander and former Orioles starter has gotten pummeled over his last few outings surrendering 15 ER on 20 hits over his last 6 IP (22.50) suffering consecutive losses to Washington and Pittsburgh. Hitters are tallying a .288 mark with a 1.57 WHIP against Gausman, who faces a Pirates lineup batting a respectable .256 scoring 4.3 runs per contest with only 65 HR. Josh Bell (.325 18 57) has been eating opposing pitching for lunch all season. Bell is 6th in the NL in HR and average, and leading the majors in RBI. He has cooled off some hitless in his last 10 at bats, but hopes to be refueled in the lineup. Melky Cabrera (.331 4 22) is batting .364 over his last 9 games hitting safely in 8 of them. Bryan Reynolds (.352 5 20) has appeared in just 44 games thus far in this, his rookie campaign. He brings in a 7 game hitting streak (.379) and has batted safely in 17 of his last 18 contests. Starling Marte (.283 7 26) is batting .419 over his last 9 games hitting safely in 8 of them. Colin Moran (.273 9 34) homered 4 times and drove in 6 last week.

The Pirates match wits with Joe Musgrove (4-6 4.44) who has also struggled as of late losing 2 of his last 3 outings and an ERA of 6.63. He did pick up a victory last week over these same Braves allowing just 3 runs on 5 hits over 8 innings with a walk and 6 strikeouts. Musgrove faces an Atlanta lineup batting .256 overall but averaging nearly 6 runs per contest belting a 6th best 89 HR. Freddie Freeman (.312 17 41) leads the Bravos in HR and is tied for second in RBI with Acuna (.279 14 41). Freeman is batting .357 over his last 7 games hitting safely in 6 of them, and belted 4 HR while driving in 9 last week. Acuna is also hitting safely in 6 of his last 7 (.300) , and crushed 3 HR while bringing in 7 RBI last week. Austin Riley (.290 9 26) has become one of the amazing stories of 2019, doing all of his damage in appearing in just 23 games. A diamond in the rough, Riley is making a strong case for NL ROY and was discovered recently at AAA Gwinnett. Dansby Swanson (.257 13 43) has 4 multi-hit games last week and leads Atlanta in RBI.

We get a nice price this evening at a venue which has been recognized as the second coming of the launching pad once housed as Fulton County Stadium by these same Braves. Both of these clubs pack a solid punch when it comes to offense, and we should see more of the same this evening with two struggling starters battling each other. At just 400 straight away and 385 to the power alleys, the ball jumps off the bat and carries well especially now that we are approaching the beginning of summer. Light winds are expected tonight with temps in the 80’s, but there is a chance of rain this evening, so hopefully both offenses will make their mark early. Best of luck however you play!