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Cubs vs. Pirates, 7:05 ET
If you look back to last season, you can draw a few parallels between some teams. For example, the Marlins last season weren’t a great team, but had one of the best pitchers in baseball in Sandy Alcantara. For a while, he was extremely valuable to bettors because the lines posted were disrespectful to how good he was pitching. This year we have a similar situation with the Cubs. The disrespect is getting a bit out of hand for the Chicago Cubs Ace Marcus Stroman.
I somewhat get why the line is the way it is: the Cubs aren’t a consistent team this season. They are still under .500 for the season, but they are playing solid baseball right now and this division is up for the taking. The four teams at the top are all within a few games of each other and the only other team, the Cardinals, is 13 games under. The Cubs have the potential to be good enough to steal the division this season. One way the Cubs can get there is to ride the right arm of Stroman. So far this season, he has been worth every dime of his contract and more. The Cubs have won his last six starts and he has posted a quality start in all of them with no more than two earned runs allowed in any game. He just rocked the Pirates in his last outing as he allowed only four hits. Pirates hitters are pretty solid against him, batting .256 collectively, but I wouldn’t say they’ve been spectacular by any means.
The Pirates are finally starting to fall off the cliff. I did expect this to happen, but my thought was they were going to fall off the cliff before the season even started. I’m impressed they are battling, and battling this long into the year. They are now under .500 and not playing great baseball right now. They’ve lost their past seven games and are 2-10 over their past 12 games. Johan Oviedo is pitching for the Pirates tonight. Overall, Oviedo has been solid enough as a pitcher for Pittsburgh, and he has been better at home with a 3.86 ERA. He didn’t last long in his last matchup against the Cubs where he allowed four earned runs over 4.1 innings. In his past four home starts, he has allowed just eight earned runs over 25 innings.
I don’t really expect this to be a blowout but I do expect the Cubs to win, and we are paying a small price with Stroman on the hill at -130. I do have better confidence in Oviedo pitching at home than I do on the road, but the Pirates are playing bad baseball and the Cubs are playing well right now. Back the Cubs to win this one.
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