Cubs Taking A Chance Friday Night in L.A. Giving Plenty Of Value To The Over

Jason Lake

Friday, August 26, 2016 7:47 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 26, 2016 7:47 PM UTC

The Chicago Cubs will use nothing but relievers for Friday's road game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. What the heck is going on, and how will it affect the baseball odds?

Eventually, there will only be relief pitchers in Major League Baseball. There's no real reason anymore to stretch a starter beyond a handful of innings; they tend to get clobbered after going through the batting order more than once, and honestly, their arms aren't meant to bend that way. Tony LaRussa tried a six-man, three-day rotation for a while with the 1993 Oakland A's. He didn't stick with it, but that was before Moneyball. It's going to happen.

We'll get a sneak preview of the future this Friday (10:10 p.m. ET) when the Chicago Cubs visit the Los Angeles Dodgers. This would normally be John Lackey's start for the Cubs, but he's getting pushed back to Saturday. Mike Montgomery will get the nod instead, with Trevor Cahill expected to come in after three or four innings. Take that, tradition. Chicago (81-45, +2.64 units) is a slim –115 on the MLB odds board at press time, with some books calling it a pick 'em.


Montgomery Burns
Granted, Montgomery (3.44 FIP) was starting games for the Seattle Mariners last year as a rookie, and he was very effective early before running out of steam. Montgomery even threw back-to-back shutouts at one point. He's a reliever now, though, and an effective one at that. Cahill (4.12 FIP) broke in with the A's as a starter in 2009, but he's been confined mostly to the bullpen the past couple of years after bouncing around from team to team.

The Dodgers (71-56, –3.87 units) are going with Bud Norris, a pitcher who's had one foot in the starting rotation and one foot in the bullpen the last two seasons. Norris (4.10 FIP) came to L.A. in late June; he's made seven starts for his new employers, leading them to a 4-3 record and 0.19 units in profit, with the OVER at 5-2. Maybe we'll end up putting the OVER in our MLB picks given the matchup on the mound. That eight-run total looks vulnerable, even at Chavez Ravine.


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Fantasy Corner
If you need a spot starter for your fantasy team, perhaps someone in the Cubs batting order would be worth a spin – as always, finding an available player is the tricky part. Maybe it's time to buy low on OF Jason Heyward (.622 OPS). He's had a lousy year with his new team, but Heyward is 3-for-10 lifetime against Norris with a walk and a home run, and he's available at 40.7 percent of ESPN leagues at press time. That .264 BABIP has to go up sometime, right? It might not be Friday, but if you can get Heyward, you can stash him for the playoff drive – or at least keep him away from your competitors.


Free MLB Pick: OVER 8 (+100)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Record: 21-20 ML, 7-5-1 Totals (+4.11 units)

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