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#957/958 UNDER 9 Chicago Cubs (Mills) at St. Louis Cardinals (Woodford) 7:15 PM CT

The Cubs and Cardinals both sit at 46-47 for respectable records while still not totally out of the playoff hunt in the NL Central despite the hot recent run from the Brewers. Since June 1 St. Louis is 16-23 while scoring 3.4 runs per game while the Cubs are 16-24 in that span with only 3.7 runs per game as these have been two of the worst offensive teams in baseball in recent weeks. The Cubs have a .688 team OPS in the past 21 games while the Cardinals have a .691 team OPS in that span to further illustrate the offensive woes for a pair of historic franchises that could have some major trade deadline salary shedding ahead next week.

Tonight’s pitching pairing isn’t overly impressive as Alec Mills has an average season line in 18 starts but he is drawing a Cardinals lineup batting .184 in the past 10 games vs. left-handed pitching. 24-year-old Jake Wooford has fewer than 50 MLB innings to his name and only one previous start but he should serve as a capable opener in this game vs. a Cubs team batting only .212 vs. right-handed pitching on the road this season. Woodford has been stretched out in AAA the past few weeks and has an opportunity to land a rotation audition in the coming weeks with a favorable opportunity to pitch well tonight at home with a career 3.79 ERA at Busch Stadium.

The bullpen has been a bright spot for the Cubs and while by August that unit may be depleted, this week is a showcase opportunity for the Cubs to increase their pricing to relief-needy contenders. At home the Cardinals also have pretty good bullpen numbers and coupled with the struggles of the offense, games in St. Louis are averaging only 7.7 runs per game. The ‘under’ is 28-17-3 in Cubs road games and 23-17-4 in Cardinals home games and it is difficult to expect a different outcome tonight against a still elevated total of 9.0.