Bats Carry Cubs in Series Opener at Pittsburgh

anthony rizzo

Willie Bee

Monday, April 24, 2017 12:47 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 24, 2017 12:47 PM GMT

The best and worst of the NL Central collide tonight in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates are underdogs on the MLB odds against Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs.

MLB Season Record: 5-14 (-9.68)

Revenge, they say, is a dish best served cold, which is appropriate since it is going to be on the cool side of things in Pittsburgh on Monday when the Pirates open a series against the Chicago Cubs. We'll come back to the weather in a little more detail a bit later.

Chicago is after a little revenge after being broomed by the Pirates a week ago, and the Cubs will try to start exacting said revenge Monday when ESPN carries the 7 PM (ET) contest. Brett Anderson is up next for the North Siders, Chad Kuhl going for Pittsburgh, and it's the Cubbies carrying road chalk as BookMaker has them -120 with an 8½-run total that leans 'under.' Several shops are carrying 8 for the scoreboard barrier. The series begins with the NL Central tightly bunched, Chicago on top and Pittsburgh last just two games back.

 

Kuhl With 6.44 Lifetime ERA At PNC

Anderson started the season with a pair of nice outings that totaled 10.2 IP and only one run scoring. He was anything but a mystery to Milwaukee hitters last Tuesday when the Cubs were -165 on the MLB odds, the Brewers chasing him in the fourth having plated six. The Pirates also raked against the southpaw last season when they faced Anderson, scoring five in the first inning of his first start off the DL. Tonight is just his second career start at PNC Park, tossing seven innings of 1-run baseball here in 2014 while a member of the Rockies.

Kuhl pitched well enough to win his last two starts on the road, but wasn't supported enough by his offense as the Pirates dropped both games at Boston and St. Louis. The former Delaware star has been a much better pitcher on the road than in Pittsburgh over his career, and the Cubs knocked Kuhl around in all three starts he made against them last season (10.1 IP, 12 ER, 19 hits).

 

Series Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

One of the oldest rivalries in the National League, this series has been swinging more in Chicago's favor in recent years. The Cubs won the past two season meetings (25-12) prior to getting swept at Wrigley a weekend ago and have made themselves at home in PNC Park since it opened in 2001 with a 74-61 record. Seven of the nine games played in Iron City last season went 'over' the totals, Chicago winning 10 of the last 12 on this field.

Getting back to the weather, most of the game should be played in the mid-50s, and while there is a slight chance of a late-afternoon shower, there's nothing on radar that threatens the game. A 10-15 mph wind from the East (in from left) could make PNC Park even more pitcher-friendly than it already is, though the 'over' is still tempting. Instead, I'll run with the Cubs for my free baseball pick.

MLB Free Pick: Cubs -114Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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