Milwaukee Brewers -135 at Chicago Cubs +125 (Total: 8.5)
Shawn Marcum vs. Chris Volstad
We are off to an interesting start in MLB this season to say the least. We have already had a half-dozen walk-off wins, five extra innings games and New York is undefeated. Not the Yankees… but the Mets are a perfect 3-0. Meanwhile their counterparts in the Bronx have yet to win, getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston was also swept this weekend in Detroit after losing an absolutely insane 13-12 game in 11 innings in which they gave up dramatic homeruns in both the ninth and the eleventh to blow the games.
Boston and the Yankees are both 0-3 for the first time since 1966. So, is this a harbinger of a wide-open season of change? Possibly, but I would remind everyone we still have 159 games to play, so take a nice deeeeeep breath.
Let’s get to tonight’s pick, Milwaukee at Chicago.
For the home Cubs, right hander Chris Volstad makes his debut in Chicago after being acquired from the Marlins in the offseason. Volstad has electric stuff and is only 25 years old, I think in the long run the Cubbies will get the better end of the Volstad/Zambrano deal; however, Volstad has been plagued by inconsistency over his career. After posting a 2.88 ERA in half a season in 2008, he has hovered around 5.00 for the rest of his career. Last season was one Volstad would like to forget, going 5-13 for the Marlins.
But, as any knowledgeable baseball fan knows, wins and losses rarely tell the entire story for a pitcher. Volstad’s run support was abysmal, especially during the Marlins second-half collapse. In his final ten starts of the season he allowed four earned runs twice, three run one time, and the other seven allowed only one or two earned runs. He pitched six innings or more in every one of those starts except for one five inning outing. If he does that for most teams in baseball he earns a handful of wins. Last season, those ten starts earned him an 0-5 record.
For the Brewers, Sean Marcum had the best year of his career last season (his first with Milwaukee) and was a huge reason why the Brewers won the Central Division. His 13-7 record and 3.38 ERA are more than you could reasonably ask for from a #3/#4 starter in the National League. The Brewers hope he is able to replicate it this season as they try to adjust to life without Prince Fielder.
This game is another one of those “toss-up” games; Marcum has better stats, but I think Volstad has better “stuff.” The Brewers owned Chicago last season, going 10-6 against the Cubs, but the series was extremely home team slanted. The Brewers were 8-1 in Milwaukee, while the Cubbies went 5-2 in the Friendly Confines. I am going to take the cushy plus-money line and bank on the trend to continue. Give me a good start from Volstad and the Cubbies at +125.
Free Pick: Chicago Cubs to WIN +125