The wins just keep on coming as we picked up another win last night when we backed the Tampa Bay Rays against the Toronto Blue Jays. The number was a tight one, and that just didn’t make sense to me. The Rays, despite being mostly out of contention, are the hottest team in baseball right now. Tampa had won thirteen out of there last fifteen games, and I felt that they should have been prohibitive favorites in this one, so I backed them and expected another win.
And that is just what happened. The game was close most of the way, with the Rays not pulling away until a three-run seventh inning that gave Tampa Bay a 4-0 lead. The bullpen by committee starter experiment worked again as seven Tampa pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout. Only time will tell if this Tampa team can keep up this insane pace and get back into the playoff chase, but I for one am enjoying the ride. For today’s pick, I will look at the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Chicago Cubs are in Milwaukee Wednesday trying to avoid getting swept in game three of a three-game series again the Brewers. Coming into this series, the Cubs saw this as an opportunity to basically put the season away and lock up the National League Central Division title. Instead, the Brewers have closed the gap and are now just three games back of Chicago for first place.
Starting for the Cubs is Jose Quintana (11-9 4.21 ERA), and for the Brewers, it is Jhoulys Chacin (14-5 3.53 ERA). The Brewers are -115 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Miller Park in Milwaukee.
To say that the Milwaukee Brewers are all in on a playoff push this season would be an understatement. They made a couple big moves at the trade deadline on July 31st, picking up Mike Moustakas and Johnathan Schoop. Then they made several more moves at the waiver trade deadline last week when they picked up Curtis Granderson, Gio Gonzalez, and Xavier Cedeno.
This team sees the weakness in the National League this season, and they have done everything they can to get to the World Series. And it seems to be working as they have won seven out of their last eight games and eleven out of their last fifteen. This team is loaded up with talent and poised to take a run at the division title and the National League Pennant. Sweeping the Cubs today would go a long way into getting that done.
Starting for Milwaukee tonight is likely their best pitcher, Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin’s fourteen wins on the year are a team high, and he has winning decisions in four out of his last five starts. Going back to June, Chacin is 8-2 with an ERA right around three runs. And that ERA is really inflated by one really bad start against the Dodgers. Chacin has allowed three earned runs or fewer in twenty-three of this thirty starts this season.
Chacin has two starts against the Cubs this season and has been nearly unhittable. In his two starts against Chicago this year he is 2-0 and has yet to allow a run in thirteen innings while striking out sixteen.
Jose Quintana has been just OK this year for the Cubs. He hasn’t been the savior Cubs fans had hoped he would be when they made the move to bring him over from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline last season. But he has been respectable. His ERA has hovered right around the four-run mark, and he has picked up his share of wins behind this mighty Cubs lineup. He started against the Brewers a couple of weeks ago and really struggled. In that game, he pitched five innings and gave up five runs, and the Cubs got blown out 7-0.
I am never going to call a game between these two teams a mismatch. They have way too much history against each other, and they know each other too well. But right now, it is hard not to like what the Brewers are doing. They are adding talent all over the field and are red-hot. Chacin is pitching as well as he has all season long and has dominated the Cubs this season.
The number isn’t altogether a bad one, but I really do like Milwaukee in this game and getting to back them and only having to lay -116 seems like a bargain. I don’t see Milwaukee blowing them out like they did last night, but I do think they are clearly the side to back and they will find a way to get the job done tonight at home. Give me the Milwaukee Brewers as small home favorites tonight at -116!