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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Gambling Preview & Free MLB Picks

MLB Lines – Cubs vs Cardinals

This early-season NL Central tilt is a case of the haves and have-nots in baseball.

The Cardinals (5-4) seem to be in the thick of the World Series race all the time, while the Cubbies (3-6) are stuck in a perpetual re-build, even with savvy Red Sox legend Theo Epstein making the decisions.

Date/Time: Friday, April 11 2014, 8:15 pm EST
Venue: Busch Stadium, St. Louis MO
MoneyLine: Chicago 2.30, St. Louis 1.67
Over/Under: 7.5
Pitching Match-up: Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 1.29 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (1-0, 1.69 ERA)

Today’s MLB Matchup Stats | Today’s MLB Insider Preview

The result is two rabid baseball fan bases in middle America: One tortured, the other one gorged on success.

Chicago hurler Samardzija is the de facto ace of the pitching staff, though he’d probably be better served as a number two or three guy on a deeper starting five. Still, the 29-year old is a multi-sport athlete from Notre Dame (he was also an excellent wide receiver for the Irish) who has made the transition to full-time baseball smoothly.

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Kelly, meanwhile, is one of a host of young arms that the Cards are excited about; he and Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller – all four under the age of 26 – ally with cagey veteran Adam Wainwright to make a formidable starting rotation for the Red Birds.

It’s not just on the mound where St. Louis has been successful with the youth movement. Corner infielders Matt Carpenter (3B) and Matt Adams (1B) are homegrown talents that really blossomed last year, with Adams just a rookie in 2013. In most ways it seems like this franchise can do no wrong.


The Cubs and their fans can only incubate their eternal hope. Chicago has plenty of youngsters of its own in the pipeline, especially some intriguing hitting prospects. Yet, these players either aren’t in the majors yet or haven’t developed to their full potential (1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Mike Olt).

Epstein is committed to stockpiling young talent to make the Cubs competitive in a few seasons, but when you haven’t won since 1908 and your most recent memorable moment is the Steve Bartman goof from over a decade ago, you won’t blame the North Siders for being fidgety.

So far this season, utilityman Emilio Bonifacio, despite a miserable season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013, is hitting a scorching .452 in 37 at-bats. He and SS Starlin Castro (.342, seven RBI) have been carrying the offense thus far.

Don’t expect that to continue for very long, but it’s a welcome sight for the Cubs to start the campaign.

In St. Lou, it’s been a case of hot vs. cold. Adams and franchise catcher Yadier Molina have been mashing, but new acquistion Jhonny Peralta and usually-reliable run producer Allen Craig have been garbage to date.

The Cards were exceptional at hitting with RISP (runners in scoring position) last season, but that might have also been a healthy infusion of good luck. The nice thing about St. Louis is that the pitching staff is so good and so deep (excellent pitcher Carlos Martinez is in the bullpen, for instance) that it can help a struggling offense along.

Even with Samardzija on the bump, you have to like the Cardinals’ chances in this game. The Peraltas and Craigs of the world are going to wake up eventually, and St. Louis has the valuable depth in all other elements of the team that should lead to further sustained success in 2014.

St. Louis 4, Chicago 2
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James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!