Home cooking hasn’t fixed what’s been ailing the St. Louis Cardinals, as they’ve dropped the first two games of a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels to make it five losses in a row and eight in their last nine. The Redbirds will look to snap that skid on Thursday afternoon, with first pitch from Busch Stadium in St. Louis set for 1:15 p.m. ET. Griffin Canning (1-0, 4.11 ERA) will go for the Halos, while the Cardinals turn to righty Jack Flaherty (2-3, 3.94).
St. Louis is currently a -140 favorite on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Angels are +120 underdogs. The run total is set at 9.
Angels-Cardinals picks: Thursday, May 4
Out: C Max Stassi (hip, personal), 1B Jared Walsh (head), RP Jose Quijada (elbow)
Out: SP Adam Wainwright (groin), RP Wilking Rodriguez (shoulder)
Griffin Canning vs. Jack Flaherty
The results haven’t quite been there yet, as evidenced by a 4.11 ERA, but Canning has been rounding into form recently as he returns from a long layoff due to injury. The righty’s whiff rate is in the 93rd percentile, as his fastball, slider and change have all given batters fits, and he’s allowed three or fewer runs in at least five innings in each of his four starts thus far. A slumping St. Louis Cardinals lineup that’s struggled against righties could provide the perfect opportunity for Canning to avoid the long ball, lock in his command and put it all together.
After a solid start, Flaherty has regressed recently, with 11 runs allowed and a whopping 23 baserunners over his last 16.2 innings of work. Walks continue to be a major problem, but if there’s a silver lining here, it’s that his fastball velocity is creeping back up to the 93-94 of Flaherty’s heyday and he’s still generating plenty of swings and misses. If he can spot his slider with regularity he could be in for success against a righty-heavy Angels lineup.
These teams combined for six runs on Tuesday and were on pace for seven last night until the Angels erupted for three in the ninth inning. Both of these offense have been middling against righties, especially recently, and I think the under will hit this afternoon thanks to a number that’s simply higher than it should be given two pitchers rounding into form.
Pick: Under 9
The Cardinals’ losing streak has to end eventually, right? Flaherty seems close to putting it all together, and I think this is the spot where he finally limits the walks and lets his strikeout stuff shine through.