You would expect a team like St. Louis to be ready for everything, as the Cardinals have one of the best rotations in MLB. They are generally happy with their performance so far as they are leading the competitive central division, but what happened in Seattle was deeply frustrating for the visitors. They split the two games played at Busch Stadium but they are yet to score a run against the Mariners’ starters.
What makes it so difficult to figure out what these opponents are all about is that Seattle is using a lineup of young and promising players. While they might be a real threat for the Cardinals in the future, the reason for why they are so effective right now is that their opponents don’t know anything about them. Some players even expressed their frustration about this awkward situation, saying that they have a harder mission now playing against these unknown players than they did when facing the Pirates or the Reds.
Tonight they will once again face a starting pitcher that hasn’t played against St. Louis so far, with Ramirez taking the mound for the hosts. He has a somewhat surprising record, with five victories in six starts and three on the road although he conceded almost 5 runs per game. There are plenty of other pitchers who have a similar percentage, but what makes this situation truly surprising is that Seattle is one of the worst scoring teams in MLB.
Ramirez can only hope that his luck won’t run out tonight because he will be opposed by Shelby Miller who won 13 decisions this season. One more victory would be enough for him to become the first rookie since Dick Hughes to hit 14 victories in his first season. He also has a solid earned run average of 3.05 and is expected to stay on the mound for six innings or more, unlike his counterpart who is a total enigma for the Cardinals.
Seattle played above expectations in both games of the series but they are clearly the underdog tonight and it is most unlikely for them to win the final game. As far as punters are concerned, the odds for a Cardinals victory are simply too low to be acceptable so the only way to extract value from them is by trusting the hosts to cover the -1.5 runs spread.