Winners of four straight after another beatdown of Pittsburgh yesterday, the 15-20 Chicago Cubs hope to stay hot as they host the 15-21 Pirates tonight at 7:40 PM EST.
Pittsburgh has been shut out in back-to-back games, and the game prior to that they didn't record a single hit. Their offense is slumping in a laughable way, so Chase De Jong needs to be sharp on the mound today to give them a chance. He'll be an opener for a bullpen day and has a 2.03 ERA in seven appearances thus far.
Drew Smyly gets the call for the Cubs and faces the Pirates for the third time already this season. He's 1-1 with four earned runs over 10 innings in those first two outings, and has a 3.64 ERA overall on the year.
Can the visitors finally do, um, anything offensively or will the Chicago notch a series sweep?
Here are the odds from WynnBET to help us find some value in this Pirates vs Cubs matchup:
Pirates vs Cubs Odds, Run Line and Total
- Pirates +1.5 (-161)
- Cubs -1.5 (+137)
- Pirates: +142
- Cubs: -152
- 8.0 (Over -110/Under -110)
Pirates vs Cubs Prediction and Pick
I don't have a stat for it, but the Pirates have to be in the midst of one of the worst three-game offensive slumps in recent MLB history. The only game in which they've scored a run in their last three contests was the one they didn't have a single hit in! That's insane!
During this three-day stretch of misery, Pittsburgh's lineup has an OPS of .308. That's not a typo. The 1884 Washington Nationals have the worst team OPS ever recorded at .500. So...yeah. It's as if the Monstars from Space Jam decided to steal the talent from a squad that already didn't have any. Kind of cruel, if you ask me.
Smyly is in the 97th percentile in average exit velocity and 85th percentile in walk rate, so he limits hard contact while preventing walks. That means the Pirates have to remember how to actually hit a baseball to have any chance at scoring today.
And their lack of rotation depth means they'll rely heavily on a bullpen that ranks 26th in ERA on the season. Chase De Jong technically gets the start, but his pitching profile from Baseball Savant suggests he won't be out there long:
But hey, at least he's just bad and not historically terrible like the offense! Chicago has won six of eight and outscored the Pirates 16-0 in the first two games of this series. They complete the one-sided sweep today.
Pick: Cubs -1.5 (+137)
Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.