Another day, another money line underdog winner! We picked up the big underdog win last night when we backed the Cubs at +123 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona starter, Patrick Corbin, was getting a lot of love from the oddsmakers, and understandably so, but I felt Kyle Hendricks would be good enough to give the Cubs a shot at the upset, so I backed Chicago.
Turns out, Hendricks was more than up for the challenge as the guy nearly pitched a complete game shutout! Hendricks pitched eight and a third innings and didn’t allow a run until the solo shot home run from A.J. Pollock to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning. It was one of the best starts of the year for Hendricks. Corbin didn’t pitch bad, he threw six innings and allowed three runs, but it just wasn’t enough to get the DBacks into the win column.
This Arizona team is officially in free fall at the moment, and they are seeing their postseason dreams go up in smoke, as they have gone an abysmal 4-12 in the month of September. With the loss, the DBacks fall to five games back in the wild-card race, and four and a half games back for the National League West Division title. At this point, it is going to take a miracle to turn things around with just a couple of weeks left on the schedule.
For the Cubs, they were able to keep pace with the Milwaukee Brewers, who also won Monday, and remain two and a half games ahead of the Brew Crew for first place in the National League Central chase. For today’s pick, I will stay right here in Arizona and break down game two of the series between the Cubs and the DBacks.
Starting tonight for the DBacks is Matt Andriese (3-5 4.76 ERA), and for the Cubs, it is Mike Montgomery (4-5 3.87 ERA). The Chicago Cubs are small -101 favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM PST from Chase Field in Arizona.
Last night I backed the Cubs when I was clearly getting the worst side of the starting pitching matchup, on paper at least. In actuality, Hendricks pitched his brains out and carried us to an easy victory. In today’s game, the tide has turned, and I see the Cubs as getting the best of the starting pitching matchup that features two guys that have done a lot of work out of the bullpen this season.
For the Cubs, they start, Mike Montgomery. Montgomery is used to going back and forth from the bullpen to the starting rotation, as he has done that for much of his career. The Cubs are using him as a bit of a hybrid opener/starter recently. He is starting the games but is on a strict pitch count and won’t be going more than four or five innings in this one. The Cubs have been relying on their bullpen that is now number one in the National League in ERA. Despite having their closers banged up a bunch, the Cubs pen has really been getting the job done recently.
The DBacks will turn to Matt Andriese to make his first-ever start for Arizona. Andriese has been mostly a bullpen guy between stops in Tampa Bay and Arizona this year and served as an opener for the Rays in several games. Since being traded to the DBacks, Andriese has been pitching exclusively out of the bullpen for Arizona with some rough results. Andriese was especially bad in his last appearance as he got hammered for seven runs in just an inning and a third of work against the Colorado Rockies. I don’t expect Andriese to get too deep into this game either as he has yet to make more than 58 pitches in any game this season.
As I said yesterday, I see this Arizona team as a lost cause right now. They had a chance to prove themselves against some of the best teams in the majors over the last couple of weeks, and fell completely flat on their face. I had them losing last night’s game, and I have them losing tonight as well. To me, this team has just given up. While still technically in contention, I don’t see any way they break out of this funk in time to save their chances at the playoff this year.
The fact that they are starting a guy like Andriese in a game as big as this one shows me that DBacks management knows that the ride is over this season. This Cubs team hasn’t been swinging too hot of a bat recently, but I expect them to hammer Andriese in this one. Neither of these starters are going to make it past the fourth inning, and it is hard not to like the Cubs bullpen as they have been lights out.
So, I will once again back the much better overall team, and this time I will even get the best of the starting pitching matchup as well. This line has moved around a lot this morning with both teams spending time as small favorites. Right now, the line is leaning ever so slightly towards the Cubs, and I will lock it in here. Give me the Chicago Cubs as tiny road favorites tonight at -101 in game two from Arizona!