TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION THURSDAY, JUNE 24TH
#956 ST. LOUIS with Martinez (-147) over Pittsburgh with Kuhl at 8:15 PM EST
Checking in off a pair of road losses to the Tigers and a blemish to the Braves in Atlanta, the Cardinals will be elated to be back inside Busch Stadium. St. Louis has won 19 of its last 34 in its own backyard and the Redbirds will be focused on getting back to the .500 mark when the 26-46 SU Pirates visit.
On the mound for the Cards will be right-hander Carlos Martinez. The month of June hasn’t been kind to No. 18. Matched up against the Braves, Cubs, Indians, and Dodgers, Martinez was popped for 25 earned runs and 26 hits in 14.2 innings. Carlos struck out 17 and walked 10 en route to an 0-4 mark and a shocking 15.35 ERA. Thankfully, in 33 career outings against the Bucs (14 starts), Martinez owns a respectable 7-6 record with an impressive 3.32 ERA.
Young righty Chad Kuhl will counter for the Pirates. So far this season, No. 39 has appeared in eight games for the Bucs (all starts) and been popped for 22 earned runs and 30 hits in 35.0 innings. Kuhl has issued 22 free passes and served up five homers on his way to a dismal 1-4 tally with a weak 5.66 ERA. Foreign soil has given Chad headaches too. On the road, Kuhl has been crushed for 16 earned runs and 19 hits in 19.1 innings. After the math, that equates to a dismal 0-3 record and a lofty 7.45 ERA.
A few solid team trends back this investment. St. Louis has won 19 of its last 26 as a favorite and 56 of its last 82 battles when matched up against a foe that holds a team won/loss percentage less than .400. On the other side of the chalk lines, Pittsburgh has fallen in 11 of its last 16 in the first game of a series, 36 of its last 51 when priced as a pup, 67 of its last 96 when coming off a blemish, and 20 of its last 26 as a guest facing a foe that owns a losing record.
The Cardinals are only 5.5-games out in the NL Central and they’ll use a little home cooking to grab this dub. Take St. Louis with Martinez. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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