The Cubbies took over the 2nd NL wild-card spot last night over the Giants, & throw their ace today, as the teams continue a 4-game series this afternoon. But this bettor likes Frisco's odds.
Giants-Cubs Friday Odds
In the very early betting the best line we could find on Chicago with Jon Lester was the -130 offered at Pinnacle, while San Francisco and Ryan Vogelsong could be found getting +122 at Heritage.
As they often do with Cubs home games, bookmakers were holding off on posting a total on Friday's contest, probably waiting for an updated wind forecast. Thursday, oddsmakers eventually listed a total of seven on a Hammel-Heston match-up, and the game played OVER, with three homers hit on a night with a light cross-breeze.
Chicago took the opener of this series Thursday night 5-4, grabbing an early 5-0 lead, then hanging on from there. With the victory the Cubbies pulled a half-game ahead of the Giants in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot.
So the Cubs have won seven of their last eight games, while the loss was just the sixth in the last 22 games for San Francisco.
Friday's Mound Match-Up
Lefty Lester (6-8, 3.26) is pitching on a little extra rest, because his last start, on Monday against Pittsburgh, lasted just five outs, before the game got rained out. By our tough standards Lester is 12-for-21 on quality starts this season, and five for his last six. Nine days ago he held Colorado to two runs through eight innings, walking one while whiffing 14 in a 3-2 Chicago victory. And over his last six starts he's held foes to eight earned runs through 43 1/3 innings. For the season Lester has allowed 123 hits through 133 innings, walked 32 and struck out 136.
Chicago is 11-10 in Lester's starts, while the totals have skewed UNDER by a 14-5 lean.
This will be Lester's first start against San Francisco since 2013, when he was with Boston.
Vogelsong (7-7, 4.16) will be making his first start in over three weeks, after getting sent to the bullpen. On the season he's seven-for-16 on quality starts, but was O for his last three, after giving up four runs in 5 2/3 innings against Philadelphia back on July 11. Since then he's done six spots in relief, allowing four runs – two earned – through six innings. On the season Vogey has allowed fewer hits, 97, than innings pitched, 102, but 15 of those hits got lost in the seats. He's also walked 43, which is too many, while striking out 75.
The Giants are 9-7 in Vogey's starts, with the UNDERS going 8-7.
Last year Vogelsong started once against the Cubbies, allowing two runs through four innings of a 2-1 Frisco defeat.
Friday's Batting Splits
San Francisco ranks seventh in the Majors right now against left-handed pitching with a .262 team batting average, and 12th with a .319 team on-base percentage.
Chicago, on the other hand, ranks dead last against right-handed pitching with a .236 average, 19th with a .310 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Wrigley Field this season are now 31-17 on the UNDERS, averaging 6.9 runs per. Also, Lester's home starts are a lopsided 10-1-2 on the UNDERS.
Catcher Buster Posey did not start for San Francisco Thursday night, catching some rest, then pinch-hit in the ninth. He is likely to start today.
Giants-Cubs Friday Free Picks
We whiffed on yesterday's series opener, in part because Frisco starter Chris Heston couldn't get the third out in the first inning. Anyway, the Giants throw a spot starter against an ace today, but that seems like just the spot to back them. Vogelsong is capable of going five good innings, and San Francisco owns an edge in today's batting split. Also, it looks like the wind might be blowing out at Wrigley today, so despite those skewed totals in Lester's home starts we'll take a chance on the OVER.
MLB Picks: Giants & OVER