MLB Picks: Lohse & Brewers vs. Samardzija & Cubs

Ross Benjamin

Monday, July 29, 2013 2:10 PM GMT

The Brewers and Cubs renew their division rivalry tonight when they open a 4-game series at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

The Brewers send right-hander Kyle Lohse (7-7/3.37 ERA) to the mound while the Cubs counter with right-hander Jeff Samardzija (6-9/3.94 ERA). The weather calls for game time temperatures around 70 degrees with partly cloudy skies and winds east to southeast at 6 miles per hour. The Brewers hold a 5-3 advantage in the series this season. The Brewers have won all 4 meetings at home while the Cubs have taken 3 of the 4 games played at Wrigley Field.

Recently the Cubs have traded their former starting pitchers Matt Garza to Texas and Scott Feldman to Baltimore. They also traded every day left-fielder Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees. All of these moves are indicative of a team that has thrown in the towel for the season, reducing payroll, and looking to build for the future by bringing in younger prospects. However, the current Cubs roster hasn’t allowed the recent fire sale from deterring their efforts on the field. The Cubs return home from a 10-game road trip that saw them go 6-4 including a 3-game sweep of the defending world champion San Francisco Giants over the weekend. As a matter of fact since June 26th the Cubs are a very respectable 17-11. The Cubs enter this series 48-55 on the year including 22-26 at home.

The Brewers have been arguably one of the 5 most underachieving teams in baseball this season: they've been a great fade for our MLB picks.  Milwaukee enters this series with a dismal 43-61 record including a terrible 17-32 mark on the road. The Brewers lost 2 of 3 at Colorado this weekend and have dropped 5 of their last 7 overall. To add insult to injury their star player Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season on July 22nd for violating the league's Joint Drug Agreement. In addition their shortstop Juan Segura is questionable. Segura left Saturday’s game at Colorado with stiffness in his forearm and didn’t play in yesterday’s game. The 23-year old Segura has been a bright spot for the Brewers this season hitting .315 with 11 home runs and 40 runs batted in while also accumulating 31 stolen bases.

Handicapping Tidbits:

The Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija has been a bit shaky over his last 4 starts posting a lofty 6.84 ERA, a 1.90 WHIP, and allowed 5 home runs in just 22 2/3 innings. Samardzija has been much better on the road than at home this season. In 10 starts at Wrigley Field he’s posted an unimpressive 5.46 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. The Cubs have seen 8 of those 10 starts go over the total. In 4 career starts versus the Brewers Samardzija has a respectable 3.75 ERA. The Cubs are 7-2 in their last 9 games as a favorite when Samardzija is their starter.

Kyle Lohse has easily been the Brewers most consistent starter this season. The Brewers have been winners in 7 of their last 10 games with Lohse as their starter. In those 10 starts Lohse has posted a stellar 2.29 ERA and an excellent 0.92 WHIP. The Brewers have gone under the total in 16 of 21 games this season with Lohse on the hill. Lohse is a perfect 7-0 in his last 7 team starts versus the Cubs with a very respectable 3.45 ERA.

As I mentioned earlier the Cubs are returning from a 10-game road trip. Chicago is a very profitable 9-2 in their last 11 home games after returning from a road trip of 7 days or more. On the negative side the Cubs are a dismal 16-37 in their last 53 games versus NL Central division opponents. They have also struggled versus very good pitchers going a horrible 26-57 in their last 83 games when facing a starter with a WHIP of less than 1.15 on the season. Unfortunately for Cubs backers Kyle Lohse has a 1.12 WHIP in 2013.

As tough a year as it has been for the Brewers they can take solace in knowing that they’re 25-9 in their last 34 meetings with the Cubs. The Brewers are also a perfect 5-0 in their last 5 versus a team with a losing record when Lohse is their starter. On the flip side Milwaukee is a horrible 19-46 in their last 65 as a road underdog, and 14-31 in their last 45 on the road versus an opponent with a losing record. 

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Conclusion: 

I would give the slightest of leans toward the Milwaukee Brewers +120 on the money line tonight. This isn’t a game that I will be personally wagering on nor releasing to my clients. 

MLB Picks: Soft bet on the Brewers +120 at Bet 365