Veteran righthanders match up in Cincinnati on Saturday when Bronson Arroyo and the Cincinnati Reds meet Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals as the two continue their series at Great American Ball Park.
Opening numbers pegged Chris Carpenter (4-7, 3.85) and the Cardinals -115 chalk on the MLB odds boards with Saturday's total at 8.5 runs. The Reds will counter with Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 5.58). The total has stuck but St. Louis was bet up to -120 by early Saturday morning.
Friday's Game 1 saw the Reds open as -150 betting odds favorites before Cardinals backers drove that down to -145 at some baseball betting shops by game time. All-Star Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips slapped a 2-run, walk-off homer in the ninth for a 6-5 Reds win.
Cincinnati's win, coupled with Pittsburgh's victory in Houston, pushed the surprising Pirates (48-43) and Cardinals (49-44) into a tie atop the National League Central standings. The Brewers (49-45) are a half-game back with the Reds (46-47) three out in fourth place.
Chris Carpenter will be facing the Reds a fourth time this season and a second time this month. The first two appearances resulted in St. Louis losses, but the most recent outing was a dandy with Carpenter pitching the Cards to a 1-0 home win on July 4. The 13-year veteran tossed the first eight of those innings, allowing six hits and a walk against three strikeouts.
That win gave the big righty his third straight win after beginning the year 1-7, and St. Louis subsequently won his next start though Carpenter didn't figure into the decision, a 7-6 victory vs. Arizona as a -140 favorite two days before the break.
He was knocked around in his only appearance at GABP this season, tagged for nine hits and eight runs during his 6.1 innings of work on May 15. Carpenter lost as the favorite against Reds hurler Travis Wood the first two outings of 2011 before outdueling Johnny Cueto as small home chalk on the Fourth of July.
St. Louis is 8-11 in his assignments and down nearly eight units, going 11-8 to the OVER along the way.
As disappointing a season Carpenter has endured to now, Arroyo has pitched worse yet the Reds are still an even .500 (9-9) in his 18 starts. Two of those nine wins came against the Redbirds with Arroyo not figuring into the decision either game.
The most recent came 10 days ago in St. Louis in what turned out to be a 9-8 Reds extra-inning triumph as +115 dogs. Staked to an 8-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, Arroyo and the Reds' defense fell apart; Cincinnati eventually won it in the 13th.
Both squads have experienced problems with their bullpens, specifically closing out games. The Cardinals are tied for the third-most blown saves with 17, their troubles arising at the start of the season when Ryan Franklin spit the bit filling the closer's role.
Cincinnati's Francisco Cordero was struggling before the all-star break, blowing three saves in four appearances and losing twice. The Reds are tied with Texas at 10th in blown saves with 13.
Friday's win gave the Reds a 6-4 record over the Cardinals this season, a year after St. Louis took 12 of 18 meetings. Cincinnati has won seven of the last 13 at Great American where the OVER is 9-4 in that stretch.