(Zack Greinke photo courtesy Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports)
When and Where: Sunday, July 14, Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Mo., 2:15 p.m. EDT.
Zack Greinke looks to pick up where he left off before the All-Star break and become the second 11-game winner in the National League on Sunday when the Arizona Diamondbacks conclude a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Greinke riding 14-inning shutout streak into matchup vs. Cards
Greinke (10-3, 2.73 ERA) closed the first half of the season strongly, recording victorious back-to-back seven-inning shutout efforts over San Francisco and Colorado.
The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA in his last eight starts, but when Greinke has been on his game, he has been overpowering. In four of those outings, he finished with at least six shutout innings.
While he has been the subject of trade rumors, Greinke’s average annual salary of $34.5 million could prove prohibitive. He also reportedly has a no-trade clause that includes 15 teams, though he could waive that if the Diamondbacks find a suitor to his liking.
Greinke has fared well against the Cardinals, going 13-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 18 starts. That includes splitting two starts last year, with the loss coming in St. Louis after yielding five runs and nine hits in five-plus innings of a 5-3 defeat April 7, 2018.
The righty, though, is 5-3 with a 3.04 ERA in eight starts at Busch Stadium. Matt Carpenter has had some success against Greinke, going 10 for 29 with a pair of homers, but former Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt is 4 for 23 with 12 strikeouts.
Cards hope pushing back Wainwright pays dividends
Adam Wainwright (5-7, 4.81) was scheduled to start the opener of this series Friday night but was pushed back two days due to back spasms.
The right-hander has been plagued by a lack of run support all season, and his 2.57 average — which includes receiving two or fewer runs in his last five outings — would led the majors if he pitched enough innings to qualify.
That contributed to Wainwright going winless in his final four starts before the All-Star break. He did not get a decision July 3 at Seattle after holding the Mariners to two runs and four hits in five innings, with the Cardinals rallying for a 5-2 win.
Like Greinke, Wainwright carries a strong track record against his opponent into this game, going 8-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 12 starts against the Diamondbacks. The righty had a four-start winning streak snapped in the lone matchup last year, yielding three runs and four hits with three walks in 3 2-3 innings of a 3-1 home loss.
The loss dropped Wainwright to 5-2 with a 2.20 ERA in seven home matchups with Arizona.
The Cardinals are:
- 5-11 in their last 16 during game 3 of a series.
- 3-7 in their last 10 Sunday games.
The Diamondbacks are:
- 5-0 in Greinke’s last five starts vs. NL Central teams.
- 8-3 in Greinke’s last 11 road starts vs. sub-.500 teams.
- 6-1 in Greinke’s last seven starts.
Diamondbacks -0.5 runs first 5 innings (+105)
This is a confidence pick in both Greinke and diametrically opposite trends. The Diamondbacks have trailed after five innings exactly once in Greinke’s last 16 starts (10-1-5), including a 3-0-2 mark in his last five in the road in which opponents have totaled one run.
Conversely, the Cardinals are 2-7-1 at the five-inning mark in Wainwright’s last 10 starts, including 1-3-1 in the last five. Getting Greinke at plus-money given his current form is a strong play.
Diamondbacks -1.5 runs (+135)
An aggressive play with Greinke and the Diamondbacks, with the expectation for the right-hander to continue his strong run of pitching. His track record versus St. Louis and at Busch Stadium are also positive factors, and the Diamondbacks bullpen has been solid in this series — conceding an unearned run in 4 2-3 innings in two games — adds belief in taking the run line.
UNDER 4.5 runs first 5 innings (-125)
The hook is pivotal here, and both pitchers have created strong five-inning under trends — it has a 6-2-1 mark in Greinke’s last nine starts and a 9-2 record in Wainwright’s last 11. The lack of run support for Wainwright recently runs right into Greinke’s recent trend of stifling opponents — the Cardinals have totaled three runs in the first five innings of Wainwright’s last five outings.
UNDER 8 runs (-110)
This number came in slightly under expectations at eight runs flat, but with Greinke pitching well, the under is the lean. It has gone 5-0 in his last five road starts and 5-1 in his last six against teams with a sub-.500 record.
The under also entered Saturday night’s game 14-4 in the Cardinals’ last 18 home games and 5-1 in Wainwright’s last six starts. The under also has a stellar track record with Wainwright in this series, delivering in his last seven home starts against the Cardinals and an 8-1 mark in the last nine meetings overall.
Escobar to record an RBI (-118)
The Diamondbacks third baseman carries a 13-game road hitting streak into this game after belting a solo homer in Saturday night’s loss and is batting .340 with seven RBIs in that stretch.
Escobar is hitting .386 in his last 18 games outside Arizona with 17 RBIs, and the hedge is his torrid hitting on the road will continue with some sort of run-scoring hit.
UNDER 2.5 runs first 3 innings (-131)
The hook and both pitchers getting through unscathed in the first inning are key to the under delivering here. Greinke has given up 11 first-inning runs in his 19 starts but a combined four in the second and third, while Wainwright has yielded eight first-inning runs in his 16 starts.