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Struggling squads meet when Cincinnati and St. Louis begin a three-game National League Central Division series tonight. Game time for the Reds vs. Cardinals contest is slated for 8:15 p.m. ET at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. This is the fourth of 19 meetings this year. These teams opened the season with three high-scoring contests in Cincinnati. After the Cardinals posted an 11–6 win in the first game, the Reds won the series with 9–6 and 12–1 victories. St. Louis won the season series 6–4 last year. The Cardinal posted a 4–3 record over seven games played at Busch Stadium.
Cincinnati (9–9) enters this series on a four-game losing streak. They are two games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central standings. After opening the season with a 6–1 record, the Reds have lost eight of their last 11 games. Cincinnati heads to St. Louis following a six-game homestand. The Reds posted a 2–1 series win against the Cleveland Indians before being swept 3–0 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cincinnati leads the league with 31 home runs and 111 runs scored on offense. Pitching has been an issue for the Reds as they rank 28th overall with 94 runs allowed.
St. Louis (8–10) opened the season with a 5–2 record, but they have matched the Reds with eight losses over their last 11 games. The Cardinals had a day off yesterday and returned home following a six–game road trip. St. Louis lost twice in Philadelphia (9–2 and 2–0) but avoided a sweep with a 9–4 win in the second game against the Phillies. That was followed by a 2–1 series loss in Washington. The Cardinals defeated the Nationals 12–5 in the first game before losing 3–2 on Tuesday and 1–0 on Wednesday. St. Louis is averaging 4.72 runs on offense and has allowed 4.83 runs on defense.
After beginning the season on IR, due to a back injury, RHP Sonny Gray (0–0, 4.15 ERA) makes his second start for Cincinnati. He allowed two runs and six hits, over 4.1 innings, but took a no-decision in the Reds’ 3–2 victory against Cleveland on April 17. Extending his own MLB record, Gray has not allowed more than six hits during his last 45 starts. LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim is making his second start for St. Louis. He allowed three runs and five hits over three innings and took a no-decision during the Cardinals’ 9–4 win in Philadelphia on April 17. Lay the runs and bet on Cincinnati.
Pick: Cincinnati Reds -1.5 (+160) run line
National League West rivals meet when San Diego visits Los Angeles for the second of a four-game series. The first pitch for the Padres vs. Dodgers matchup is at 10:10 p.m. ET at Dodger Stadium. San Diego scored one run in the eighth inning and won the first game 3-2 last night. The Padres turned a double play, with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the eighth, to secure the win. Los Angeles went 2–1 during a three-game series in San Diego last week. The Dodgers won the first two contests (11–6 and 2–0) before the Padres avoided a sweep with a 5–2 win in the series finale.
San Diego (11–10) opened the season with an 8–3 record but have lost seven of their last 10 games. The Padres are third overall in the NL West standings. They trail San Francisco by two games and Los Angeles by four games. Before this series on the road, San Diego went 1–5 during six games at home. Following the 2–1 series loss to the Dodgers, the Padres were outscored 13–3 during a three-game sweep by Milwaukee. San Diego entered this series on a 2–7 slide, and all seven losses were by two runs or more. The Padres score 3.57 runs on offense and allow 3.38 runs on defense.
Los Angeles (14–5) opened the season with a 13–2 record but has lost three of their last four games. Following the 2–1 series win in San Diego, the Dodgers played two games in Seattle. The Mariners had a 4–2 lead after five innings and posted a 4–3 win in the first game. Los Angeles managed just two hits but held Seattle to one hit during a 1–0 win in the second game. After scoring 44 runs during an eight-game winning streak, the Dodgers have scored eight total runs over the last four games. Los Angeles has been a moneyline favorite in all 20 games they have played so far this season.
Tonight’s pitching matchup features starters from the Dodgers 2–0 win in San Diego on April 17. RHP Yu Darvish (1–1, 2.55 ERA) makes his fifth start for San Diego. On one hit over seven innings, he allowed just one run but took the loss in the first game. LHP Clayton Kershaw (3–1, 2.19 ERA) makes his fifth start for Los Angeles. He held San Diego to just two hits, over six scoreless innings, and earned the win in the first meeting. Kershaw had the game-winning RBI as he drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning. Backing the higher-scoring offense, take the Dodgers with the moneyline.
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers (-143) moneyline
2021 MLB Regular Season Betting Record: 11–15 (-5.90 Units)
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