Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs Game 3
By: Ron Patrick
With the wind blowing out at Wrigley last night, the teams combined to hit seven homers(Pittsburgh alone hit five solo shots), helping the game play OVER its total of nine.
The Cubs are suddenly playing with some pop in their bats; after scoring a total of eight runs through their first five games, they've now scored 21 runs over their last three games.
So the teams meet to decide the series Thursday afternoon at the Friendly Confines (2:20 pm ET).
As of early Thursday morning most shops were chalking Pittsburgh and Gerrit Cole at around -130 over Chicago and Travis Wood.
Again, books were waiting to post a total on this game, because of the weather. The forecast calls for the wind to blow out toward right field Thursday afternoon at about 15 MPH.
In his season debut last Friday against Philly Wood gave up three ER through 6 1/3 innings of a 7-2 Chicago defeat.
Wood, one of the most unheralded starters in baseball last year, started three times against Pittsburgh in 2013, allowing just three runs and 10 hits through 18 innings; Chicago only won one of those games, because the Cubs lineup produced a total of five runs of support.
All three of those Wood starts stayed UNDER on the totals.
Cole made his season debut last Friday against St. Louis, allowing two runs and seven hits through seven innings of a 12-2 Pirates victory.
Cole started twice last year against the Cubs, allowing three runs and 12 hits through 13 innings, whiffing 14; Pittsburgh won both those games.
This might be a good one, more along the lines of those tight, low-scoring affairs these teams were playing last year, and in their first series this season, than the games they've played the last couple of nights. Today's pitching match-up is about a wash, but a couple of things point us toward Pittsburgh; Chicago went 44-74 against right-handed starters last year, and is 1-3 this year; and the Pirates own the advantage in the battle of the bullpens. So we'll go with Pittsburgh at the -127 offered at Pinnacle for our free MLB pick for Thursday.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs Game 2
By: Ron Patrick
Pittsburgh grabbed the opener of this series Tuesday night with a 7-6 victory. The Pirates put up four runs in the first inning, blew that lead, later led 6-4 but blew that lead, then pushed across the game-winner in the top of the eighth, winning as -115 favorites on the betting line.
These teams have now played four games already this season, each decided by one run.
Pittsburgh goes for the series victory when the teams meet for Game 2 Wednesday night (8 pm ET, WGN).
Early Wednesday AM we found Pittsburgh and Wandy Rodriguez lined as low as -121 at 5Dimes, while Chicago and Jason Hammel could be gotten at +116 at Bookmaker. Also, just like yesterday, books were holding off on putting out a total on this game, because of the Wrigley wind factor.
Tuesday night's game went off with a total of seven, with the wind blowing in from center at about 10-15 MPH. The teams then combined to score 13 runs. For tonight the forecast calls for temps in the 50s, with the wind blowing out at 10-15 MPH.
Tonight's game is a rematch of last Wednesday's game at PNC Park; Hammel held the Pirates to one run and two hits through 6 2/3 innings, while Rodriguez allowed three runs in six innings in a 3-2 Cubs win. Chicago cashed in that night at +145, and the game played UNDER a total of seven.
Hammel went 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA last year for Baltimore, allowing more hits, 155, than innings pitched, 139, walking 48 while striking out 96. By our tough standards Hammel went just seven-for-23 on quality starts last year, although Baltimore managed to win 11 of those games.
Rodriguez went 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA in an injury-shortened 2013, allowing 58 hits in 63 innings, compiling a 46/12 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. Wandy only went five-for-12 on quality starts, but Pittsburgh won eight of those games.
Rodriguez started twice last year against the Cubs, limiting them to three runs and eight hits in 12 2/3 innings, walking one while striking out 11; the Pirates won both those games.
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Hammel out-pitched Rodriguez last week for a Chicago victory, but we expect a reversal of that performance Wednesday night. So we'll go with Pittsburgh at the -121 offered at 5Dimes for our MLB picks for Wednesday.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs Game 1
By: Ron Patrick
The teams open a three-game series at Wrigley Field Tuesday night (8 pm ET). Pittsburgh took the season series from the Cubbies last year, too. How should we look to place our MLB picks this series?
In a rematch of last Wednesday Pittsburgh and Charlie Morton were early -125 favorites over Chicago and Edwin Jackson. Also, the Pirates could be bet at upwards of +145 on the run line.
Books were waiting to post a total on Tuesday's game, because of the wind factor at Wrigley Field.
Also, The Greek was listing Pittsburgh at -135 to win this series, with the Cubbies getting +115 as home dogs.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are 4-2, after taking two of three games from St. Louis over the weekend. Pittsburgh pitching has allowed just 15 runs so far, but Pirates bats have been held to two runs or less in four of their first six games.
Chicago is 2-4, after losing two of three to Philly over the weekend. The Cubs avoided a sweep with an 8-3 victory Sunday, but those eight runs equaled Chicago's season scoring output up to that point.
These two starting pitchers faced off last Wednesday in a game Pittsburgh eventually won 4-3 in 16 innings. Morton held Chicago scoreless through six innings, while Jackson allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings. The Pirates held a late 2-0 lead but the Cubs rallied for a run in the eighth and one in the ninth to force extra frames. Both teams then scored single runs in their halves of the 12th, before Pittsburgh won it on a Tony Sanchez single in the bottom of the 16th Thursday morning.
Morton went 7-4 last year with a 3.26 ERA, allowing fewer hits, 113, than innings pitched, 116, walking 36 while whiffing 85. By our tough standards he went nine-for-20 on quality starts, and the Pirates won 11 of those games.
In his three starts last year vs. Chicago Morton gave up seven runs and 14 hits through 18 innings; Pittsburgh lost two of those three games.
Jackson went 8-18 for the Cubs last year with a 4.98 ERA. He gave up 197 hits in 175 innings, walked 59 and struck out 135. Jackson mustered just nine quality starts in 31 outings, and Chicago won just 10 of those games.
Jackson started four times against Pittsburgh last year, allowing eight runs and 17 hits through 20 2/3 innings; Chicago split those four games.
Pittsburgh took the season series from Chicago last year 12 games to seven, and 14 of those 19 games played UNDER on the totals, as they averaged just 5.4 total runs per. Last week two of the three games these teams played stayed UNDER on the totals, and the other one pushed.
We had some good luck with Morton last year, and give him the edge in the match-up with Jackson. We also give Pittsburgh the check mark in the comparison of the bullpens. So we'll go with the Pirates, at the -119 offered at Pinnacle, for our free pick for Tuesday.