May 30 Betting Odds: Struggling Cubs Will Get Better at Padres’ Expense

Matthew Jordan

Monday, May 29, 2017 9:20 PM UTC

Monday, May. 29, 2017 9:20 PM UTC

The Chicago Cubs aren’t playing good baseball against the better teams in baseball this year, so they need to fatten up on the bad ones when they get the chance. For example, like Tuesday against NL West doormat San Diego at Petco Park.

MLB Season Record: 16-11

Chicago Cubs At San Diego Padres (+125, 8)

It’s Game 2 of a three-game set at Petco Park on Tuesday night (10:10 ET) between the Cubs and Padres. It might be time to start worrying about the defending World Series champs. They continue to hover around .500 and were just smoked over the weekend in a three-game sweep at the Dodgers. The Cubs were excellent against good teams last year but that has not been the case in 2017 yet.

The players and Manager Joe Maddon are all saying it’s too early to panic and that they aren’t worried. But here we are nearly into June. At some point, you are simply who you are. The Cubs have been swept three times this year after only twice all of last season.

So what are the problems? Last year, the Cubs led the majors with a 3.15 ERA. This year as of Monday, they were 11th at 4.04. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks have both been pretty good, but Jake Arrieta and John Lackey haven’t. The No. 5 spot has been a major issue.

The offense isn’t blameless by any stretch. Kyle Schwarber has been a disaster as he’s well below the Mendoza Line. The experiment to use him at leadoff has ended, and Maddon says the burly lefty will only start against right-handed pitchers until further notice. The Cubs also are the worst team in the National League in batting average with runners in scoring position at .217. Even the Padres, who have a completely anonymous team, are better in that category at .228.  Chicago’s defense is also way off from last year’s numbers. The Cubs are no longer World Series favorites at +600. The Houston Astros are at +500.

As for the Padres? They had the lowest win total projection in MLB betting this spring at 65.5 and that’s looking optimistic. The Friars have easily the worst winning percentage and run differential in MLB. This was never expected to be anything but a rebuilding season.


Tuesday’s Probable Pitchers

It’s not exactly the sexiest pitching matchup of the night. The Cubs go with Rockies castoff Eddie Butler (2-0, 1.93). The team is giving him every opportunity to win the No. 5 job in the rotation. He has had mixed results in his three starts with Chicago. Butler was solid last time out, holding the Giants to one run and four hits over five innings. He improved to 4-0 in his career against the Giants but is 4-16 with a 6.72 ERA against all other teams in his career.

Butler is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in his career vs. the Padres. Only a few current San Diego players have faced him. Wil Myers is 1-for-5 with a double and two walks. Yangervis Solarte is 1-for-4 with two RBIs.

It’s the second big-league start for one of San Diego’s top prospects, Dinelson Lamet. The 24-year-old was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for $100,000. This year with El Paso in Triple-A, Lamet was 3-2 with a 3.23 ERA in eight starts. He struck out 50 and allowed 32 hits in 39 innings.

Lamet made his major-league debut Thursday at the Mets and allowed one run and three hits over five innings. He struck out eight and walked two. Lamet became the first San Diego pitcher to strike out at least that many in a major-league debut since Bob Shirley in 1977. Lamet’s fastball sat in the mid-90s, including in his final inning.

The Cubs are hitting just .234 against right-handers this season, but the Padres are dead last at .228 in that category. San Diego is also 1-7 in its past eight in Game 2 of a series. Chicago is the pick here.

Free MLB Pick: Cubs -135Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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