Cubs and Pirates Will Put Up Runs in Their Finale

Willie Bee

Thursday, September 7, 2017 12:58 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 7, 2017 12:58 PM UTC

The Cubs and Pirates have played even this season with both teams winning nine times, and Chicago is a light favorite on the MLB odds tonight in the series finale in Pittsburgh.

MLB Season Record: 71-74-4 (+0.95)

You’ve heard of rubber games for a single series, right? Well, Thursday’s battle in Pittsburgh between the Pirates and a Chicago Cubs is a rubber game for the season, first pitch coming at 7:10 PM (ET) with the visitors carrying the chalk. BetOnline has Chicago -130 with an 8-run total in the mound clash between Jon Lester (9-7, 4.46) and Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.50).

Pittsburgh opened the series with a resounding 12-0 squashing of the Cubs on Monday, then rallied in the eighth Tuesday for a 4-3 triumph. Chicago snapped its 3-game skid last night in a 1-0 duel that left the season series deadlocked at 9-9, totals 4-5 O/U in Iron City.


Chicago Winless In Lester’s Last 4 Starts Vs. Pirates

After spending the last half of August on the DL with a sore shoulder, Lester returned to the rotation last week to pick up a win vs. Atlanta, though it wasn’t pretty. The southpaw managed to get through five innings to figure in the decision thanks to Chicago hitters having scored 10 times by then, but Lester surrendered three homers to account for the four runs the Braves scored off him. The worst start of his career came against these Pirates at home just before the All-Star break (0.2 IP, 10 runs), and he lost in Pittsburgh back in April when the Bucs scored six times (5 earned) with Lester removed in the sixth of that contest.

Taillon appears to have righted his ship the last two times out, both Pittsburgh wins with the young right-hander allowing just one earned run in 10 combined frames. He has struggled in several outings before that, the Pirates losing four of his previous six assignments while Taillon pitched to a 9.31 ERA during the span. The Floridian lost to the Cubs at home in mid-June (5 IP, 4 ER) as a slight favorite on the MLB odds after beating them at Wrigley as the underdog in April (7 IP, 0 ER), Lester starting that matchup for Chicago.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Roberto Ortiz, a fill-in from Puerto Rico, completes one full turn through the umpire crew Thursday. It will be just his 12th plate assignment at the MLB level, totals running 3-6 O/U this year and 3-8 O/U for his career. Home teams are 4-7 his previous 11 games behind the mask as he prepares for his first game south of the dish in Pittsburgh.

There is a chance of a shower right around game time, but it should be quick and light without much chance of keeping the contest from being played, especially since the umps know this is the last scheduled meeting between the division foes. Without a good feel for either starter, my free baseball pick is on the ‘over.’

Free MLB Pick: 'Over' 8 (+100)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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