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Free MLB Sports Pick for Sunday, May 21: San Francisco at St. Louis

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The Giants are one of the hottest teams in MLB, winning 7 of their last eight games overall after last night’s thrilling 3-1 win at Busch Stadium in 13-innings.  San Francisco veteran Matt Cain toes the rubber this afternoon after reaching 2,000 innings for his career against the Dodgers last Tuesday.

Cain became the 12th pitcher in Giants’ history to reach that milestone, allowing one run on five hits and three walks in an 8-4 victory against Los Angeles.  The soft-tosser is 3-1 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.46 WHIP this season, including posting a 7.32 ERA and 1.88 WHIP on the road, a 5.79 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in afternoon contests and a 7.20 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in his last three starts.

Cain is 0-3 at Busch Stadium with a career 7.62 ERA, the highest mark in any ballpark where he has made more than one start.   The right-hander’s underlying peripherals are extremely disconcerting: 5.03 xFIP, 5.07 SIERA and a 4.25 BB/9 rate.  Let’s also note that Cain is 3-6 with a 5.61 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in thirteen career starts against the Cardinals.

From a technical standpoint, San Francisco is 8-18 in Cain’s last 26 road starts, 4-14 in Cain’s last 18 starts versus National League Central foes, 7-19 in Cain’s last 26 starts after allowing 2 runs or less in his previous start and 2-6 in his last eight outings during game 3 of a series.  I should also note that the Giants are 0-6 in Cain’s last six starts at Busch Stadium and 1-5 in his last six starts against the Cardinals overall.

St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright is having a much better season than his 5.31 ERA would suggest.  The 35-year-old owns a 3.85 FIP and has been extremely unlucky with batted balls in play (.390 BABIP).  Wainwright has his best strikeout rate in nearly four seasons and continues to keep the ball on the ground (49.3% GB%) and in play (0.85 HR/9).

Technically speaking, St. Louis is 41-13 in Wainwright’s last 54 starts versus .499 or worse opposition, 46-21 in Wainwright’s last 67 home games, 46-20 in his last 66 starts during game 3 of a series and 25-12 in his last 37 outings against National League West opponents.  The Cardinals are a profitable 40-18 after losing the first two games of a series and 16-5 in their last 21 games versus teams with a losing record.

The Giants are averaging just 3.4 runs per game this season (.291 OBP; .639 OPS), including 3.1 runs per game in afternoon affairs (.267 OBP; .592 OPS).  In contrast, St. Louis is averaging 4.7 runs per game versus right-handed starters and 4.8 runs under the afternoon sun.

Finally, Wainwright is 27-14 with a career 3.49 ERA in the month of May, his highest win count in any month.  Take the Cardinals as Oskeim Sports’ Free Sports Pick for Sunday, May 21.

Oskeim Sports’ Free Sports Pick: St. Louis Cardinals (-146)

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