Burnes And Imanaga Showdown In Baltimore

Cubs vs. Orioles, 6:35 ET

Cubs vs. Orioles, 6:35 ET

Well, that hot streak will have to wait another day as I went just 0-1-1 yesterday. The loss came in the Braves vs. Diamondbacks game, one with a total of 7.5 runs and the game ended with eight runs scored. It is amazing how often you feel like it is a bad beat, but if the game ended 5-2 instead of 6-2, I wouldn't consider it a lucky win. Additionally, with the Giants and Blue Jays game, they scored seven runs total and I had the over. Most of those runs game late in the game, so I did get lucky there. Let's skip the luck tonight and just grab a win as the Cubs take on the Orioles

The Cubs are in a very important spot of the season. They currently are sitting at 43-49 which is fifth in the NL Central. There are only five teams in the NL Central, so for those that can't figure it out, that puts them at dead last. The Brewers are leading the way, and the Cardinals are hot on Milwaukee's tail. The Pirates and Reds are also under .500, but playing better than the Cubs. Coming into the season, the expectation was that they had a team that was on the verge of the playoffs last year, so they made very little changes. In my opinion, that was a huge mistake. They have the resources and abilities to field a great team, but they have been tinkering rather than making big plays for players. Now they have to decide if they can make a run and get back to .500 or if they want to trade away players and hope for next year. They have played better lately which is making the decision harder for the front office. The Cubs have won four of the past five games, but are just 6-9 over their past 15 games. Tonight they have Shota Imanaga on the hill. After looking like the best pitcher in baseball through the end of May, he has struggled a bit in the past month plus. He allowed 12 earned runs over his first 10 starts and has allowed 20 in his past six. In fairness, 10 of those runs came in one start. Actually, 17 of the 32 earned runs he has allowed have come in a total of 7.1 innings while the other 15 have come in 83.2 innings worth of work. So basically if he is bad, he is really bad. If he is good, he is very good. The Cubs are 12-4 in his starts this season. 

The Orioles are currently in first place in the AL East, a battle that will likely continue all season as the Yankees and them jockey for position in the division. The good news is that they are almost certainly going to make the playoffs. They certainly will not be selling pieces at the deadline, but they could get rid of some of their bigger prospects and position their team in even better position for the race. I will say that I think the team could use another starting pitcher if they can find a top-of-the-line arm. What I don't think they should do is settle for an average pitcher for the club. They made a splash in the offseason getting Corbin Burnes from the Brewers, and if they make another move like that, they could very much be considered World Series favorites. The team is, in my opinion, the most complete of all teams in baseball if they grab another true Ace. Burnes starts tonight against the Cubs. He has been nothing short of amazing for the Orioles. He currently is 9-3 with a 2.32 ERA, good for second-best in the Majors, and has a 1.02 WHIP, which is 11th best. He has been even better at home this season with a 1.78 ERA overall and just 12 earned runs allowed in 60.2 innings over 10 starts. The Cubs, having faced him many times when he was with the Brewers, have performed well against him with 31 hits in 110 at-bats. 

The total on this game is 8.5 for the full game, and is 4.5 for the first five innings. The price on the first five innings is a bit too juicy in this case, but the 3.5 is a little risky as I could see three runs allowed from Imanaga and one from Burnes. Unfortunately, the Cubs don't have a bullpen you can rely on so it is a bit of a risk to take the under for the full game. I do think, seeing how the Cubs have hit Burnes in the past, and the way they are playing lately, they could win the game and have some value at +154. The official play is going to be under 8.5 in this one at +100 as I think the teams will struggle against the starting pitching. I just have to hope the bullpens can hold them down. 

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