Cubs Outstanding Pitcher Makes Them Our MLB Pick Against Cardinals

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 1:38 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2016 1:38 PM UTC

Our handicapper has eclipsed a 70% win rate, which just coincidentally matches the win rate of the Chicago Cubs. Read on as he analyzes this pitching matchup and give the MLB Pick.

Cardinals vs. Cubs
The St. Louis Cardinals are probably out of division contention at this point, which after the last few years of owning the NL Central, is shocking to say. But the Chicago Cubs have just been that good to start the year, and at 47-20, are 12.5 games up on the Cardinals coming into this series. The Cardinals even own the 3rd best run differential in the NL and still find themselves a few games back of the 2nd wild card. This after losing 5 games in a row coming into the series on Monday. On Tuesday these teams continue that three game series, with the early lines on Monday favoring the home team Chicago Cub at -136.

Adam Wainwright takes the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals, who is in the midst of the worst season he has had in a decade. He has pitched better in his last six starts though, lowering his ERA to 4.78 after it was in the high sixes in mid-May. A perennial innings eater except for last year, Wainwright is on pace to give up more home runs than he has ever had over a season. In 2014, Wainwright gave up only 10 home runs all year. This year he has already given up 8 home runs over 84.2 innings pitched. On the year he has posted a 61/22 K/BB rate, 1.31 WHIP, and .269 batting average allowed.

Part of this problem was mechanics, which Wainwright himself admitted multiple times to the media during his rough start. This led to balls being left up in the zone, sinkers not sinking, and well, dingers. Over the season, Wainwright’s GB/FB rate of 1.31 is the most slanted toward fly balls he has ever experienced. Unfortunately for Wainwright, the weather report does not favor him in this game. The wind should be blowing out to right in this game at quite a good clip, switching to dead center by the end of the game.

Pitching for the Cu is Jason Hammel, who unlike Wainwright is in the midst of his best season in a decade – or career. On the season he has put up a 2.26 ERA, 64/24 K/BB rate, 1.07 WHIP, and .208 batting average allowed. At 7-2, Hammel only has to pick up 3 more wins to match his career season high total.

There are a lot of things that we can point to as indicators of Hammel’s dominance this season for MLB odds. One would be the cut in his HR/FB rate, which at 8.0% is the lowest it has ever been in his career. Hammel is also allowing a lot of weak contact, and his soft hit and hard hit balls in play percentages reflect that fact. In 13 starts this year, Hammel has only given up more than 3 earned runs once. He has started against the Cardinals twice this year, on the road, giving up just one earned run in each game and winning them both.

Basically everyone on the Cubs is playing out of their mind this year, and their +171 run differential is reaching historic proportions. In this game I’m not waiting for the total to come out and jumping on the Chicago bandwagon early as they face a fly ball pitcher with the wind blowing out. Take the Cubs at -152 on the money line as one of your Tuesday MLB Picks.

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Free MLB Picks: Cubs -136
Best Line Offered: at Bovada
MLB 2016 Record: 29-12-2, +16.70 Units

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