Cardinals vs. Indians MLB Pick and Betting Preview for July 27, 2021

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Cardinals vs. Indians MLB
Cardinals at Indians Pick: Under 9.5 (-120)
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It’s a jam-packed evening of MLB baseball this Tuesday night, so let’s get in on the action with a Cardinals vs. Indians MLB Pick from Progressive Field in Cleveland!

Cardinals vs. Indians Betting Odds

Odds St. Louis Cardinals Cleveland Indians
Moneyline Odds -111 +101
Runline Odds +1.5 (-210) -1.5 (+175)
Over/Under Odds Over 9.5 (+100) Under 9.5 (-120)

Cardinals

Even with just 62 games remaining and 8.0 games back of the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, it’s been a dangerous practise counting out these Cardinals before as they’ve won three of five and six of 10 entering a series with the Cleveland Indians.

Looking to get the series started on the right note will be veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright who is giving the club everything they could have hoped for in his age-39 season.

Wainwright will carry a 3.56 ERA/3.94 FIP into tonight’s action to go along with a 4.03 xERA, 3.83 xFIP and 4.02 SIERA. His strikeouts are actually up to 8.42 K/9 this season, his second-highest mark since the 2006 season when he pitched out of the Cardinals’ bullpen as a rookie. As usual, his control is excellent with a 2.43 BB/9 while the home runs are more or less in check at 1.14 HR/9.

The one thing I always make sure to note is that Wainwright pitches better at home and that’s been the case throughout his long and impressive MLB career. This season specifically, Wainwright owns a 2.70 ERA at home compared to a 5.35 mark on the road. He also owns a 4.91 FIP on the road where his walks jump to 3.72 BB/9.

According to FanGraphs, however, his 25.6% hard-hit rate on the road this season is well below his 34.8% mark at home.

That said, his elevated ERA figure on the road largely stems from two starts: 2.2-innings, six-run effort in Cincy back on Apr. 3 and another six run effort across four innings on May 15 in San Diego. Otherwise, Wainwright owns a 3.09 ERA across his other five road starts this season.

He’s also allowed three earned runs or less in eight of his last nine starts, so he’ll look to keep rolling into this one tonight.

Road Woes

Like Wainwright, the Cardinals perform better at home. Their .500 this season at 50-50, but are eight games over .500 at 28-20 at home and eight games under .500 at 22-30 on the road.

While the overall performance from the team has been inferior outside of Busch Stadium, the offense has done them no favors on the road.

The Cardinals will enter this one ranked 25th overall with a .301 wOBA on the season, but they also sit 21st with a .299 wOBA on the road. The ranking is improved, but the work itself decreases. Equally as concerning is their work against right-handed pitching this season as the Cards sit 24th with an identical .299 wOBA on the season against right-handed pitching.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s their work of late. In the month of July, the Cardinals rank 10th with a .330 wOBA while they are coming off a 10-run outburst in Cincinnati their last time out on Sunday. Still, they averaged just 3.5 runs per game over their previous four and 4.5 runs per game over their last 10 overall, so they aren’t exactly putting up crooked numbers on a regular basis.

The July offensive numbers are solid, but it’s more of the pre- All-Star-break figures that are carrying the load for the month.

Predictable ‘Pen

At some point, you have to just take what you’re given and evaluate based on the sample size for the season, and that’s what we’ll do here with this Cardinals bullpen.

In other words, I was looking for some home run regression from this Cardinals bullpen based on an 8.4% HR/FB rate despite a low 41.7% ground-ball rate, but through 100 games this bullpen still has yielded just 0.75 HR/9. That’s fine.

However, let’s also anticipate plenty of walks and below-average run prevention. The Cardinals sit 18th with a 4.45 bullpen ERA on the season, and their 4.34 FIP and league-worst 5.04 xFIP certainly back up that subpar work. Furthermore, their 5.41 BB/9 clip is by far the worst in the Majors as 29th-ranked Cincu is at 4.74 BB/9. That’s a serious issue.

So, this Cardinals bullpen certainly hasn’t been great and those walks are an awfully dangerous way to live.

Indians

Like the Cardinals, the Indians’ playoff hopes are going to be done soon if they can’t start putting together wins on a regular basis. Cleveland sits 8.5 games back of the White Sox for top spot in the AL Central while they’re now 5.0 games back of the second Wild Card spot in the AL while sporting a -31 run differential despite playing in the worst division in baseball.

With just two wins over their last seven, the Indians will need to get going in a hurry as they look for right-hander Cal Quantrill to give them a shot at a series-opening victory tonight.

The numbers on Quantrill are solid until you get into the peripherals. He carries a 3.83 ERA into tonight’s action, but also sports a 4.31 FIP, 5.33 xERA, 4.87 xFIP and 4.92 SIERA. It would appear he should be in for some regression moving forward.

That said, he doesn’t hurt himself as he’s keeping walks in check at 3.10 BB/9 while home runs are at just 0.87 HR/9. His line-drive rate of 26.4% is a little on the high end, but a 37.3% hard-hit rate combined with a 7.3% barrel rate and quality 32.6% fly-ball rate should help keep the ball in the yard moving forward.

It should also be noted that Quantrill has fared better at home this season, posting a 3.49 ERA at home compared to a 4.24 mark on the road.

While the 26-year-old sports a 5.11 ERA on the season as a starter, he’s pitched 11 innings of two-run ball over his last two starts and has allowed three earned runs or less in four straight starts. His bloated starters ERA stems from three of 10 starts in which he surrendered 15 runs in those three outings. He’s allowed just 10 earned runs over his other seven starts, so he’s been good far more often than he’s been bad in that Cleveland rotation.

Sleepy Sticks

The Indians weren’t expected to hit much this season especially after the offseason departure of Francisco Lindor and that’s pretty much been the case as they rank well within the league’s bottom 10 this season.

The Indians sit 26th overall with a .300 wOBA on the season, just one spot and one tick back of the Cardinals and their 25th-ranked .301 mark. Against right-handers such as Wainwright, the club sits in a share of 22nd alongside the Chicago Cubs with an identical .300 wOBA, so the Indians are more or less the same subpar offense against both left and right-handed pitching.

As for their offense at Progressive Field, the Indians rank 23rd with a .308 OBA, so while the offense plays up a bit at home, they’re still easily a bottom-10 offense overall, against righties and at home to boot.

It’s also been a consistently weak offense of late. The club has averaged just 3.6 runs per game over their last 10 and have failed to score in excess of five runs in any of those 10 contests. They’ve scored five runs twice, four runs three times and three or less five other times. That’s certainly not going to get it done.

It’s going to be a difficult task to get the offense going against the rock-solid Wainwright this evening.

Buoying Bullpen

The Indians’ pitching staff has been one of the better groups in baseball for a few years now. The starting pitching has only regressed thanks to a myriad of injuries to high-end arms, but with the offense also largely scuffling it’s been the Indians’ bullpen that’s at least helped buoy this team to this point and keep them within that five games of a Wild Card spot.

That Indians’ pen enters this one sporting a 3.53 ERA that puts them sixth in baseball while their 3.87 FIP and 3.85 FIP are top-10 numbers as well.

As I’ve noted many times, it’s always a good idea to get to an Indians starter or at least get a lead before the final three innings. At that point, Terry Francona simply unleashes the James Karinchak/Emmanuel Clase tandem in the eighth and ninth and rarely do leads evaporate with those arms on the mound.

Clase’s 1.98 ERA and 100.2 mph average on his fastball should have him in the Rookie of the Year conversation while Karinchak has split closing duties with a 2.84 ERA and 14.01 K/9 on the season. His 11 saves are just one shy of Clase’s 12.

Nonetheless, if the Cardinals don’t manage to get to Quantrill it could be another low-octane output again in this one tonight.

Cardinals vs. Indians MLB Pick

Pick: Under 9.5
Odds: -120
$100 Could Win You...$183.33

While I don’t mind the value in St. Louis here on the moneyline, I’m looking at a 9.5 total and hitting the Under.

First, we have two offenses very much in the bottom 10 of the league. Neither group hits right-handed pitching well, and we have two righties sporting sub-4.00 ERAs on the season. Both don’t give up many homers and walks are in check.

The Cardinals’ bullpen is a bit worrisome, but the Indians’ group has been excellent again this season, unlike their offense that is cold at the moment.

Add in the Cardinals’ offense cooling off of late and there’s more than enough evidence to get Under the 9.5 total tonight from Cleveland.

James Peralta

As a recent addition to the GamblingSites.org team, James Peralta has been covering everything about casinos, sports, and laws that are specific to online gambling in Canada. James started writing about sports in 2007 during his first year at U of T Mississauga. ...

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