MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Predictions, Giants vs Cardinals at Rickwood Field

Heliot Ramos
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Heliot Ramos #17 of the San Francisco Giants hits a two run home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the bottom of the first inning at Oracle Park on June 15, 2024 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Tony Avelar/San Francisco Giants/Getty Images)

That was a good one yesterday on the Astros. It went exactly how we thought: six innings from Brown, followed by Abreu, Pressly, and Hader. Our Houston Astros futures wish the Astros could do that more often.

Today, we travel to Rickwood Field for a pick in Giants vs. Cardinals.

These picks are available on BetMGM. Code “JustBaseball” for a first bet offer up to $1500

2024 Record: 64-75 (-14.22 U)

San Francisco Giants vs. St Louis Cardinals @ 7:15 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Keaton Winn vs Andre Pallante

This is a really cool game. This matchup will be played at Rickwood Field, the oldest venue for professional baseball in the United States. It’s one of the two Negro League Stadiums and has seen numerous Hall-Of-Famers walk through its doors. It’s old enough to have seen Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth while also hosting players like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, and many more.

Rickwood Field is located in Birmingham, Alabama, the home to Willie Mays. Willie Mays isthe Hall of Famer most linked with Rickwood Field. Mays, who died Tuesday, was a native of the Birmingham, Alabama, area, and so he was on his hometown field when he suited up for the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948. It was Mays’ first season as a professional and the start of a career that would tower over that of almost any other player.”

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We are backing the Giants today at Willie Mays’ home ballpark. The connection here is why I looked into backing the Giants game, but on the field, they should be the favorites today.

It’s hard to back a pitcher with a 6.66 ERA like Keaton Winn, but we look for times to buy pitchers whose surface-level stats are inflated. His 4.04 SIERA and 3.89 xFIP tell us he’s been unlucky in a few areas. For one, he’s allowing a .385 batting average with runners in scoring position, which is being held up by a .462 BABIP. That’s absurd and one of those wonky things that can happen in small samples.

He’s fantastic at keeping the ball on the ground (52.6%), sitting in the 89th percentile. His high BABIP tells me these ground balls are finding holes and getting to the outfield. These ground balls will be at the defenders at some point, and he’ll turn in some solid starts. He put up a 4.30 xERA last season; he’s just been unlucky to start the year.

He’s facing a Cardinals team that has to be feeling off right now. They just lost back-to-back games on walk-offs to the Marlins. They are professionals; they’ll turn the page, but it’s still not ideal.

Andre Pallante lines up on the other side. He’s entered the rotation for the Cardinals and has been solid thus far. He’s put up a 3.63 ERA in 17.1 innings over four starts with an 11% K-BB ratio. In his last three starts, he has an ERA of 5.56 against the Astros, Rockies, and Cubs. He also hasn’t gone over five innings outside of a shutout six-inning performance in his first start against the Reds.

How will he do today? He’s pretty similar to Winn. He’s a heavy ground-ball pitcher without any elite offerings. He allows softer contact but strikes out fewer batters and allows more free passes, so Winn holds the edge in the K-BB battle.

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They both are projected to go under 2.5 earned runs, as both are juiced at the same price. Pallante doesn’t have an outs line because it’s unclear how long he will go, but Winn should go five innings while allowing two runs. There really isn’t an edge among the starters.

In terms of offense, it’s razor-thin. The Giants have a .715 OPS on the road this season compared to .688 OPS at home. The Cardinals have a .690 OPS at home and a .669 OPS on the road. While the Cardinals are the listed home team, this is a new park for both teams. Against righties on the road this year, the Giants have a 99 wRC+ compared to the Cardinals at 102. Against righties in total, the Cardinals have a 105 wRC+ compared to the Giants at 99.

Over the last two weeks, the Cardinals are at 103, and the Giants are at 96. Both teams face ground-ball pitchers, and the Giants have a 42.9% GB rate, with the Cardinals at 42.3%. Very close.

The Cardinals have a slight edge on offense overall, but they won’t have Nolan Arenado in this one. It may not matter, but you’re also taking away an elite defender for a pitcher who lives on the ground ball. Offensively, they lose a hitter with a .733 OPS against righties compared to a .555 OPS against lefties. It’s hard to say the Cardinals have a real advantage on offense.

The Giants have the bullpen advantage today. The Giants’ best relievers, Camilo Doval, Ryan Walker, and Tayler Rogers, are all rested and ready to go. They also have Randy Rodriguez, Tyler Rogers, and Luke Jackson, all on solid rest schedules.

The Cardinals saved Jojo Romero and Ryan Helsley, who are both fantastic. Winning will be challenging if the Cardinals hold a lead going into the 8th. However, everyone else has thrown 25 pitches or more in the last three days. With multiple extra innings games, it could be in a better spot.

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Neither team plays tomorrow, so we should get the best of the best from both sides; I’ll take the Giants with how much depth they’ll have. Especially when it can be assumed that neither starter will go beyond five innings. It’s the middle innings where I think the Giants pounce, but I think they’ll have more success against Palante than the Cardinals with Winn. Winn is the more proven commodity, which is important to me when playing in an unknown environment.

I make the Giants a slight favorite (-115), so any number up to -110 is good for me. Realistically, I’d play them up to -120 if we add some extra motivation for San Francisco. After evaluating the matchup and knowing it’s Willie Mays’ home stadium, I must play the Giants.

The Pick: Giants ML (+100) Risk 0.5 Units