NLCS 2013: Step-by-Step Guide for St. Louis Cardinals to Win the Series

The St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays take to the field tonight. The Major League Baseball Odds for the game have the Cardinals favored to pick up this win at home. 

Adam Wainwright is getting the ball for the Cardinals tonight. He's tied with Detroit's Rick Porcello, New York Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka and Cincinnati's Alfredo Simon for the most wins in baseball with 12. Wainwright started the All-Star game for the National League and has one of the best ERAs in baseball at 1.83 for the season.

Tampa Bay is giving the rock to Jake Odorizzi, who has been up and down this season. He's going to be a bit overmatched on the hill in this one. Wainwright has gone 4-1 with a 0.81 ERA in his last six starts. He's already out-pitched Odorizzi on the mound as well, with the Cardinals beating Tampa Bay 1-0 back in June. For the record, Wainwright is 3-0 with an impressive 1.72 ERA in his last six interleague starts.

But it should be noted that the Rays are absolutely on fire. They've won 14 of their last 18 games, coming back from the dead after looking like they were on the outside looking in for what appeared to be the rest of the season. Tampa Bay is now six games under the .500 mark for the season, but they are only eight games out of first place in the American League East, which has proven to be mediocre this season. 

The Cardinals are still a half-game out of first place in the National League Central despite the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers being just 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Cardinals need to start putting big chunks of wins together. They've gotten there by winning seven of 10 games overall.

Having their horse on the mound should help them tonight, but Tampa Bay is hot. What's better, having a team that is winning games and coming in hot or having the horse to potentially shut them down? We'll take Wainwright.

Free Pick: St. Louis 4, Tampa Bay 2

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