Shane Bieber is having a season for the ages. Entering play yesterday, the Cleveland Indians starter was 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA, and his K/9 ratio of nearly fifteen would be the highest ever for a starting pitcher if the season were to end today. So, when I saw that I could back Bieber and his Indians, at even money yesterday in their game against the Minnesota Twins, it was too much value to pass up on.
I hated having to fade Twins starter, Kenta Maeda, as he has been nearly as good as Bieber this year and has quickly emerged as the ace of this Twins starting rotation. But at the end of the day, Bieber had been too good this year to not expect him to shut the Twins down, and I backed the Indians.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) September 12, 2020
It is hard to say Shane Bieber was disappointing, as he did work seven quality innings, allowing just three earned runs while striking out eight, but it was also arguably his worst outing of the year, and he picked up his first loss of the season. Bieber hadn’t allowed a single home run in his previous five starts but got barreled up twice last night, and that was the difference in the game.
Kenta Maeda continued his stellar pitching, as he tossed seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing just four hits. Cleveland gave us a little bit of a sweat late as they scored a run in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate with two outs, but the rally came up short, and we lost our bet.
If you jumped on the under six and a half runs as I suggested, you picked up an easy winner to break even on the day, and just missed scooping both bets. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Milwaukee, where the Brewers host the Cubs.
Chicago Cubs (26-20) at Milwaukee Brewers (20-22)
The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to sneak back into the playoff conversation in the National League as they host the Chicago Cubs tonight in game two of a three-game set. The Brewers have won back to back games, shutting their opponents out in both games, including taking game one of this series last night, 1-0, with a walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth.
For Chicago, the Cubs are clinging to a three-game lead over the second-place St. Louis Cardinals and are just four games ahead of third-place Milwaukee, in the NL Central Division standings. Last night’s shutout loss was the second time in their last three games that they have been shut out, and with a tough schedule ahead, Chicago must find a way to string together some wins against quality opposition if they want to lock up the division title.
Starting tonight for the Cubs is Kyle Hendricks (5-4 3.41 ERA), and for the Brewers, it is Brett Anderson (2-3 4.64 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Cubs are -125 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Nobody in the National League Central is playing good baseball right now. A quick glance at the standings shows us that no team in the division has a winning record in their last ten games and that the Cub’s four wins in their last ten games hasn’t hurt them nearly as much as it probably should have. Chicago is trying to leave the door open for the rest of the division to catch up, with their mediocre play, but none of them can seem to stay consistent enough to get the job done and close the gap for the division lead.
The Cubs issues right now are mostly at the plate, as they just aren’t scoring runs. They got shutout last night and managed just two hits. In the month of September, Chicago has been held to three runs or fewer, seven times in twelve games. Not surprisingly, wins have been hard to come by with the lack of run production, and Chicago is 6-6 this month.
Kyle Hendricks (5-4 3.41 ERA)
Yu Darvish is looking like the ace of this Cubs rotation right now with a resurgent season, but Kyle Hendricks was the Cubbies Opening Day starter this year. Hendricks has been a stud in his seven-year career with Chicago and has a lifetime 68-47 record and a 3.16 ERA. This year, Hendricks has had a couple of rough outings, but overall, he has been very good.
In September, when the Cubs have needed him the most, he has stepped up huge as he is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts. Both of those games came in must-win spots against NL Central Division opponents. He has allowed just two earned runs in fourteen innings worked this month.
The Brewers haven’t really been in the postseason conversation for most of the year in the NL Central. But if they can find a way to sweep the Cubs in this series, they would pull within just two games of Chicago for first place, and depending on how the Cardinals fare in their series with the Reds, the Brewers could be in second place, and in line for an improbable postseason appearance.
The Brewers aren’t playing all that well at the moment. They are just 4-4 in September, but with the rest of the division also struggling, all of these teams are a hot week or two away from winning the division title. The Brewers are 5-3 against Chicago this season, and a win tonight would lock up the season series win for Milwaukee.
Brett Anderson (2-3 4.64 ERA)
Brett Anderson is doing what he has done a lot of in his long MLB career, and that is eating up innings at the back of the rotation and give his team a chance to win baseball games with decent results. Anderson is never going to be a guy that is going to blow your hair back on the mound, but he gives a consistent effort and rarely gets lit up.
This year, Anderson struggled to get deep into games in his first three starts as he pitched an average of just over three innings a start, but recently, he has been able to consistently get in five or more innings or work. The results haven’t been great though, as, in his last two starts combined, he has worked ten innings and allowed eight earned runs. He has one start against the Cubs this year that saw him last just 4.1 innings and give up two earned runs on five hits and two walks.
Who Do I Like?
When the Cubs really need a win, Kyle Hendricks is the guy that they turn to. Unlike Anderson, who is never going to get you more than five or six innings in a game, Hendricks regularly goes deep into games, as he has pitched into the seventh inning four times already this year. In his lone start against the Brewers this year, Hendricks had his best outing of the season when he threw a complete-game shutout three-hitter, against the Brewers on Opening Day.
I think that we will see Kyle Hendricks dominate in this one. He has pitched really well in September, and I expect him to build on that success tonight in game two. The Cub’s recent lack of hitting scares me a little bit, but Brett Anderson just isn’t a guy that is able to shut opposing teams down at this point in his career. He might not be all that bad, but we aren’t going to see him throwing six or seven shutout innings tonight, that’s for sure.
Every time the Cubs have let a team get close in the Central Division race, they have found a way to win a game or two and stretch the lead back out. They have been playing with fire all season long, but at this point, they haven’t gotten burned yet. I think they play with that fire again tonight and again managed to leave unscathed.
Hendricks should be good, and he just might be great. We saw on Opening Day against the Brewers that if he has his best stuff going, he can shut you completely down. Brett Anderson will probably work his standard four or five innings of two or three-run ball, and by the time the late innings come around, the Cubs should have a healthy lead.
Seeing the Cubs bullpen give another game away last night, doesn’t give me a ton of confidence in their bullpen, but with Hendricks on the mound, we likely won’t see too much of them in this one. Give me the Chicago Cubs as small road favorites tonight in game two from Miller Park in Milwaukee, as they tie the series up at one game apiece!