The St. Louis Cardinals will play their first home game of the 2018 season on Thursday when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cardinals are hoping that coming home can help them get on track against the red-hot D’Backs. The St. Louis Cardinals are -119 over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Major League Baseball.
The Cardinals received a brilliant start from ace Carlos Martinez on Wednesday to take a three-game series from the Brewers. However, St. Louis is just 3-3 to start the season
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are fresh off a three-game sweep of the Dodgers. Arizona is now 5-1 on the season, taking a commanding lead in the NL West as the only team that’s above .500. Early in the season, the Diamondbacks have shown the ability to win both low-scoring pitching duels as well as high-scoring slugfests, setting them up well for the rest of the season.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals decided to scratch Michael Wacha for the home opener in favor of Adam Wainwright, who began the season on the DL. The 36-year old Wainwright won 12 games last season, but he did so with a 5.11 ERA. However, he looked sharp during the spring, allowing just one earned run over 10.2 innings, only to see a strained hamstring force him to the DL to start the season.
Wainwright will get thrown straight to the Wolves against Arizona’s potent lineup. Even with Jake Lamb going on the DL and Paul Goldschmidt off to a dreadful start, the Diamondbacks have gotten plenty of productivity from David Peralta, A.J. Pollock, Chris Owings, and Nick Ahmed. Also, those four players are a combined 7 for 20 against Wainwright, while Goldschmidt is 4 for 14 with two home runs, so he may be ready for a breakout game.
The Diamondbacks have their own 26-year old heading to the hill on Thursday with Robbie Ray. Arizona had high hopes for Ray heading into the season after he won 15 games and posted a 2.89 ERA in 2017. However, things did not go as planned in his first start. Despite getting the win, Ray gave up seven runs over five innings against the Rockies. On the one hand, he struck out eight, but he also gave up three home runs, so it’ll be interesting to see how he bounces back.
Ray has also struggled in his career against a few of the St. Louis hitters. Dexter Fowler is 5 for 8 against the lefty while Tommy Pham is a perfect 3 for 3 with a walk. That being said, Fowler is hitting just .154 early in the season. Fortunately for the Cardinals, the likes of Pham, Paul DeJong, and Jose Martinez are all off to good starts offensively and should pose a challenge for Ray.
Spoiled Home Opener
Despite the strong spring, the Cardinals can’t be sure what they’ll get out of Wainwright, who’s getting on in years and coming back from injury. It’s tough to see him shutting down the Diamondbacks two or three times through the order. Even if Ray doesn’t bounce back, Arizona is more apt to win a slugfest. Bet on the Arizona Diamondbacks +119 over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday in Major League Baseball.