I took a night off from MLB picks last night due to a time crunch rather than a tough beat from Tuesday night.
I had the Astros on the run line (-1.5) against the Giants for the second straight night in Tuesday, but the bullpen wasn’t having any of that. Despite being staked to a 6-2 lead after six innings, the Astros’ bullpen went on to yield five runs over the next four innings to drop that one 7-6 in 10 innings.
Not only was it a tough loss to take, but it went down as my first losing night of the 2020 MLB season. I’ll certainly take that.
At any rate, let’s move onto tonight’s MLB action and get back on the winning track!
Season Record: 12-6
Now let’s take a look at this free MLB pick featuring the Brewers vs. Cubs from Wrigley Field in Chicago!
Brewers vs. Cubs Betting Odds
- Brewers (+151)
- Cubs (-164)
- Brewers +1.5 (-140)
- Cubs -1.5 (+120)
- Over 8.5 (-103)
- Under 8.5 (-117)
Brewers vs. Cubs MLB Pick Breakdown
Pitching Matchup: MIL – Anderson (0-1, 5.40 ERA/5.62 FIP) vs. CHC – Darvish (2-1, 2.12 ERA/1.71 FIP)
To kick off their monumental four-game set with the division-rival Cubs, the Brewers will send left-hander Brett Anderson to the bump in what marks his third start of the season.
Anderson hasn’t exactly fared well over the first two outings of the season, allowing two earned runs in each while failing to make it out of the third inning on both occasions. His outing against the Reds his last time out was most troubling as Anderson yielded a sky-high 64.3% hard hit rate in that one.
While his 5.40 ERA, 5.62 FIP, 5.09 xFIP and 5.40 K/9 are cause for concerns, there are some things working in his favor.
His SIERA (skill-interactive ERA that measures a pitcher’s performance minus factors out of his control) of 4.17 is fairly solid and his command is fine with a 2.70 BB/9 on the season. Additionally, he’s induced ground-balls on a whopping 69.2% of his contact allowed this season while he’s long been a ground-ball pitcher with a career 56.9% clip in that department.
He’s also fared extremely well against the Cubs in a small three-start, 16-inning sample, working to a 2.25 ERA in that time, although he struggled as a member of the Cubs at Wrigley Field in 2017, posting an 8.49 ERA in six career starts and 23.1 frames at this venue.
The Cubs will send right-hander Yu Darvish to the hill tonight in hopes that the veteran can continue his stretch of brilliance that dates back to the second half of the 2019 season.
After posting a filthy 0.77 ERA in the second half of last season, Darvish has picked up where he left off with a 2.12 ERA/1.71 FIP on the season while displaying impeccable command to the tune of a 1.06 BB/9 in his 17 innings of work.
Darvish has yet to pile up the strikeouts this season as he enters this one sporting an 8.47 K/9 rate, but I would suspect that number beings to positively regress towards his 11.08 career mark moving forward.
He’s allowed just 30.4% hard contact on the season while inducing soft contact at an impressive 23.9% clip as well.
Darvish faced the Brewers to open his 2020 season, and didn’t fare well in allowing three earned runs in four innings with zero walks and five strikeouts, but has otherwise dominated the Brewers with a 2.32 career ERA against them across six starts.
I anticipated that the Brewers’ offense would take a step back this season with the losses of a pair of righty-mashers in Mike Moustakas and Eric Thames, and that has indeed been the case to this point.
Not only do the Brewers rank 26th with a .293 wOBA against right-handed pitching this season, but they could struggle in the strikeout department tonight.
I noted that Darvish is due for positive strikeout regression, and the Brewers seem like a nice opportunity to do so as they rank 29th with a 28.3% K-rate against right-handed pitching this season.
They’ve hit for very little power against righties with a 23rd-ranked .138 ISO against them, although they do jump into the middle of the pack with a 40.9% hard-hit rate against right-handers.
Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Brewers have a tough go at it tonight against Darvish despite getting to him earlier in the season.
The Cubs have gotten off to a historic start to the season thanks to their starting pitching but also an offense that’s been among the best in the league.
That said, they haven’t been great against left-handed pitching, but rather roughly league average.
The Cubs are tied for 15th with a .322 wOBA against southpaw pitching on the season while their wRC+ of 104 checks in at 16th.
That said, they haven’t hit lefties for much power at all, posting a 24th-ranked .131 ISO against them and rank 26th with a 25.7% K-rate against southpaws despite a second-ranked 12.6% walk rate.
The Cubs’ offense takes a hit in this one as well as leadoff man and noted lefty-masher Kris Bryant will miss this one with a wrist injury, taking a high-OBP and power bat against lefties out of the lineup in the process.
The Brewers’ bullpen was likely to be the team’s strong point this season and that has been the case to this point.
The Brewers enter this series sporting a bullpen ERA of 3.36, good for seventh-best in the big leagues. They also sport a sixth-ranked 3.78 xFIP and a second-ranked 11.32 K/9 clip.
Closer Josh Hader has yet to allow an earned run while recording three saves in his four innings this season while right-hander Freddy Peralta has been absolutely lights-out while he too hasn’t allowed an earned run while posting a 18.00 K/9 clip across his seven innings of work spanning two appearances.
The Brewers have five relievers with a 1.42 ERA or better among arms that have at least four innings under their belt this season.
Given their bullpen woes, it’s actually surprising the Cubs are 12-3.
The Cubs’ bullpen sports a 27th-ranked 6.56 ERA on the season while their 6.62 FIP and 5.02 xFIP doesn’t exactly spell better days ahead.
Their 5.59 BB/9 rate on the season is the worst mark in the majors while their -0.4 fWAR ranks them 26th.
Closer Craig Kimbrel has yet to get it figured out, but fortunately former Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress has stepped up as he’s yet to allow an earned run in his seven appears this season.
Brewers vs. Cubs MLB Pick
The one thing I have the most confidence in today is Darvish taking care of these Brewers hitters. He’s my favorite DFS pitcher not only on this slate, but in general as he’s going to explode for a big strikeout game soon and this Brewers team is the perfect target.
I can only see Anderson enjoying success today. Bryant is a big loss atop the lineup and the Cubs haven’t done much against lefties this season. If Anderson keeps the ball on the ground as he’s done so far, he’ll be fine.
I also like the Brewers bullpen to keep up the good work while I don’t believe there should be many stressful innings for a scuffling Cubs bullpen once Darvish is finished with the Brewers.
I initially liked the Cubs on the run line, and while I still don’t hate that play, I’m looking at the total and I’m going under on what I believe could be a low-scoring affair tonight at Wrigley.