Fresh off a 1-0 shutout of the New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs will try to take Game 2 of this three-game set Wednesday night in Flushing. The baseball odds are in Chicago's favor.
Jason's 2015 record as of June 30: 28-21, plus-6.84 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
The National League is a pretty sorry place right now. According to the Simple Ratings System at Baseball Reference, only three of the 15 NL teams at press time are performing better than average. The Chicago Cubs (40-35, +2.07 units) aren't one of them; the Cubs check in with a 0.0 SRS. And the New York Mets (40-38, –0.33 units)? They were hot earlier this year, but have tailed off all the way to –0.5 SRS. Humbug.
At least we'll get to see a marquee pitching matchup when these two teams meet Wednesday night (7:10 p.m. ET) in the Big Apple. Three-time All-Star southpaw Jon Lester (3.57 FIP) is scheduled to start for Chicago against the man, the myth, the legend, Bartolo Colon (3.89 FIP). As we go to press, the Cubs are –120 favorites on the MLB odds board. Let's riggidy-roll.
If you're automatically thinking about putting New York in your Wednesday baseball picks, we understand. Colon made us some coin earlier this year when the Mets were playing well, and he's still up 3.34 betting units on a team record of 9-6. But New York has lost five of Colon's last eight starts. We can blame dumb luck and/or poor fielding for his .342 BABIP in June, but Colon's still going though a bit of a rough patch.
We're not enthusiastic about New York's hitting, either. 3B David Wright (.796 OPS) is still out until the All-Star break with spinal stenosis, catcher Travis d'Arnaud (.873 OPS) is back on the DL with a strained elbow, and Michael Cuddyer (.667 OPS) could be joining them after he left Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Chicago (–118 away) with an injured left knee. Cuddyer was due to have an MRI on Wednesday. The Mets are No. 18 overall in hitting at 7.6 WAR and No. 29 over the past two weeks at –0.3 WAR.
Lester the Lobster
Meanwhile, Lester's arrival on the senior circuit hasn't gone as smoothly as hoped. The Cubs are just 8-7 in his 15 starts for a profit of 0.12 units. Shave and a haircut, one bit. Again, it isn't all Lester's fault; Chicago has lost five of his last seven trips to the mound, failing to score a single run in three of those losses. Poor Lester has been saddled with a .329 BABIP that has grown to .355 in June.
Maybe things will get better when OF Jorge Soler (.724 OPS) makes his return from the injured list. But Soler isn't expected back from his sprained left ankle until this weekend. Without their promising rookie, the Cubs were No. 15 in the majors in hitting this past month at 3.5 WAR, and No. 21 (1.2 WAR) over the past 14 days. And Chicago burned through three of its best relievers to get the win on Tuesday.
Although Lester is new to the NL, he's no stranger to Curtis Granderson (.802 OPS). The Mets outfielder is on fire right now, and he's 11-for-40 lifetime against Lester with a .866 OPS. Believe it or not, Granderson is only 58% owned at Yahoo leagues as we go to press, so there's a good chance he's available in your league.
Current Chicago hitters don't have much of a body of work against Colon; they're a combined 3-for-11, all singles, for an OPS of .657. Not much of a sample size, but it's one more reason we're inclined to add the Mets to our baseball picks in this one. As always, go grab the best value on the MLB odds board, and may the sphere be with you.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Mets +113 at Pinnacle