The St. Louis Cardinals will head north to take on the Minnesota Twins to start a brief interleague series Tuesday night. The Cards began the season in impressive fashion by taking two games out of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Twins, meanwhile, did the same against the Chicago White Sox.
Minnesota scored 26 runs across their three games in Chicago to start the season, a stretch that included two games in which they reached double-figures. That should come as no surprise to anybody that followed the Twins last year, of course. The 2019 iteration of the team slugged a big-league record 307 home runs. Oh, and all they did over the offseason was add another slugger in Josh Donaldson to what was already one of baseball’s most stacked lineups.
Martinez Back In St. Louis’ Rotation
Clearly, Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez will be up against it on Tuesday night. Martinez and the Cardinals check-in as +130 favorites on the moneyline for their first road game of the new season. He was an All-Star during his time as a starter for St. Louis a few years ago, but in 2018 he was moved into a relief role.
Martinez spent all of last year in the St. Louis bullpen, where he racked up 24 saves across 48 total appearances. Martinez was solid out of the bullpen, but the Cardinals opted to move him back into the rotation this season.
The 28-year-old has a career strikeout rate north of 23 percent, though he was around 26 percent last year in relief. Martinez will have to hope to miss bats in this one, because when the Twins make contact they tend to do quite a bit of damage. Minnesota’s lineup tonight had a collective .253 ISO against right-handed pitching, which is an incredible amount of power.
However, they also had a 21.2 percent K-rate, which means they’ll swing-and-miss a decent amount, too. While the Twins make for a daunting opponent, Martinez will also have the platoon advantage against several of the Twins’ bigger bats, including Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver, and Miguel Sano.
Homer For The Twins
Minnesota, meanwhile, will be throwing newcomer Homer Bailey to the mound. Bailey’s career was on the ropes as recently as two years ago, but he was able to round back into form last year with the Royals. Kansas City eventually parlayed his fine start into a trade that sent Bailey to Oakland for the stretch run. The Twins signed him as a free agent over the winter.
Bailey is hardly a dominant starter, but he was serviceable enough last season. He posted a strikeout rate around 21 percent with an average xFIP and ERA.
One potential issue for Bailey is that his new pitch mix resulted in some serious reverse-splits in 2019. The right-hander held lefties in check to the tune of a .277 wOBA, but right-handed hitters posted a .338 mark against him with nine home runs.
The Cardinals’ two best hitters, Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong, happen to swing the bat from the right side. Tyler O’Neill has some power lower in the order, as well. While Bailey’s overall numbers were superior against lefties, he was still taken deep another 12 times by left-handed bats. Kolten Wong, Tommy Edman, and Matt Carpenter are at least passable hitters from the left side of the plate.
Baseball is a volatile game, which means there is always some value in taking a shot on plus-money underdogs. While nobody would argue that the Cardinals are going to be a better team than the Twins this season, there is reason to believe Tuesday’s pitching matchup does favor St. Louis.
Bailey was improved last season, but I’m skeptical that he’s going to be able to keep it up forever. He’s no gas can at this stage of his career, but the Cardinals do own an underrated lineup. I am also bullish on Martinez, who will hopefully be able to round back into form now that he’s back in a starting role.
The Cardinals offer value at +130 on the moneyline here. Minnesota boasts a terrifyingly powerful offense, but I like the Cardinals’ chances of getting to Bailey, too. At the very least, St. Louis is worth a flier at that price.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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