St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets Preview and Pick

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St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

St. Louis Cardinals (66-59) +110, o/u 10 at New York Mets (77-48), 7 p.m. Eastern Thursday, ESPN 2
by Staff

The New York Mets look for the series sweep when they host the St. Louis Cardinals in the finale of a three-game set Thursday night at Shea Stadium.

New York, with the help of a little Mets Magic, has won the first two games of this series by scores of 8-7 and 10-8 to run their winning streak to six games. NY, looking for its first divisional title in 18 seasons, now leads the National League’s Eastern Division by 13 ½ games over the second-place Philadelphia Phillies, and is up by 11 games over St. Louis in the race for best record in the NL.

The Cardinals have struggled again recently, going just 8-13 this month, but they still lead the NL Central by a game over the second-place Cincinnati Reds.

St. Louis is 31-35 on the road this season, while the Mets are an NL-best 40-22 at home. New York has also won its last 10 games at Shea.

The Cardinals won the season series with the Mets last year five games to two, but New York lead the season series this year three games to two.

Jason Marquis (13-11, 5.70), who takes histurn in the rotation Thursday, is lucky he pitched for St. Louis.Marquis owns a paltry 77/56 K/BB ratio this season and has allowed30 home runs. Nonetheless, the Cardinals are 14-12 in Marquis’starts this year, the over/under 14-10. Marquis has given up 9ER and 19 H+W in his last 13 2/3 IP, but in three starts vs. theMets this year and last, he’s been allright, allowing 6 ER and19 H+W in 22 2/3 IP.

Lefty Dave Williams (2-3, 6.90), acquired fromthe Cincinnati Reds earlier this season, makes his second startfor New York Thursday. Williams gave up 3 ER and six hits in 52/3 innings last Saturday vs. Colorado. Before that, Williamshadn’t started a game since May.

Williams owns a 18/16 K/BB ratio, and has given up 10 long balls in just 45 2/3 IP this season. The Reds and the Mets are 6-3 in Williams’ starts this year, the o/u also 6-3.Williams made two starts for Cincy vs. St. Louis earlier this season, giving up 8 ER and 19 H+W in 9 2/3 innings of work.

The Cardinals rank 4th in the NL with a .342 team OBP, and are averaging 4.9 runs per game. Also, over their last five games (in which they’ve gone 2-3), the St. Louis offense has scored 35 runs.

New York is tied for 8th in the league with a .333 team OBP, and is averaging 5.4 RPG. Also, the Mets have scored 40 runs in just their last six games.

The Cardinals bullpen has allowed 7 ER and 21 H+W in its last 18 1/3 IP.

The New York pen has held foes to 3 ER and 17 H+W in its last 16 1/3 innings of work.

St. Louis is still without sparkplug David Eckstein,who’s still on the DL with an oblique injury. And OF Jim Edmondsis listed as questionable (he pinch-hit Wednesday night), stillfeeling the after effects of a couple of concussions.

Mets OF Cliff Floyd is also still on the DL after tweaking his Achilles tendon. But New York traded for Arizona OF Shawn Green earlier this week, and he’s expected to be at Shea for Thursday’s game.

The o/u is 63-56 in Cardinals games this year, 68-52 in Mets games, and 30-28 at Shea Stadium.

The Pick: We’re not a huge Dave Williams fan but how can you go against 10 straight wins at home. The Mets are red hot and we don’t expect that to stop tonight. The loss of David Eckstein really hurts this team and without Edmonds they lack a bit of punch in the middle of the lineup. Should be an easy win for the Mets and at a cheap price of -115.

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