The St. Louis Cardinals take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. Check out our MLB odds series for our Cardinals Diamondbacks prediction and pick.

Dakota Hudson gets the call for the Cardinals, while Madison Bumgarner will go to the bump for the Diamondbacks.

Dakota Hudson had a 2.76 ERA on June 7. That ERA is now at 4.17. He has been going in the wrong direction over the past two months. In five starts from June 12 through July 4, Hudson gave up 22 runs in 25 1/3 innings. Since then, he has been slightly better, giving up 11 runs in 26 innings over his last five starts. You can see in these numbers a worrying component for Hudson and the Cardinals: That batch of five starts from June and early July encompassed 25 1/3 innings. His next five starts encompassed 26 innings. That means he is pitching roughly five innings per start, which adds a lot of work for the St. Louis bullpen. In early June, when he was thriving, Hudson pitched seven full innings in three consecutive appearances, giving the Cardinals hope that Hudson would become a big innings-eater on the staff. That hasn’t materialized. If he’s going to be a five-inning pitcher, though, Hudson cannot give up more than two runs if the Cardinals are to maximize their chances of winning the National League Central.

Madison Bumgarner pitched to a 1.17 ERA in April, and the D-Backs hoped this was the start of something big. Nope. It didn’t materialize. Bumgarner has pitched to an ERA of four runs or higher in each subsequent month of the season, posting a 5.33 ERA in May and getting hammered here in August. Bumgarner has made three starts this month, totaling 17 1/3 innings. He has allowed 15 earned runs. It has been a bloodbath. Bumgarner has to hit the reset button and make sure he finishes the season knowing what to correct in his approach. If not, he will be a huge headache for the Arizona organization heading into the offseason, and he might look for an exit ramp out of Phoenix.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Cardinals-Diamondbacks MLB odds.

MLB Odds: Cardinals-Diamondbacks Odds

St. Louis Cardinals: -1.5 (+112)

Arizona Diamondbacks: +1.5 (-134)

Over: 9 (-122)

Under: 9 (+100)

Why The Cardinals Could Cover the Spread

The Cardinals are playing great baseball. They are establishing themselves as the team to beat in the National League Central. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are raking, and they are getting help from the rest of the batting order. The Diamondbacks are drifting through the remainder of their season. Madison Bumgarner has been pounded in August, giving St. Louis hitters confidence that they can attack this matchup and succeed.

Why The Diamondbacks Could Cover the Spread

This is a good reason to pick the Diamondbacks. The story broke Saturday afternoon, though the Cardinals were notified in advance about this:

Another reason to pick the Diamondbacks is that Dakota Hudson is not a particularly strong or overwhelming starting pitcher. The D-Backs faced a good pitcher, Miles Mikolas, on Friday. Hudson is not in the same class as Mikolas, enabling Arizona hitters to have a bounce-back game on Saturday evening.

Final Cardinals-Diamondbacks Prediction & Pick

The Yadier Molina absence could affect Dakota Hudson and St. Louis Cardinal pitchers more than anyone else. This is a total stay-away game, but consider the over if you absolutely have to make a pick.

Final Cardinals-Diamondbacks Prediction & Pick: Over 9