We came up short yesterday when we backed the Boston Red Sox as they played the Houston Astros in Houston. All the hype surrounding this game was centered on the starting pitching matchup that featured Chris Sale and Gerrit Cole. I figured taking Chris Sale as an underdog was never really going to be that bad of a play no matter what the situation was. Well, after all the starting pitching talk, it turned out to be the offenses that were the stars of this game.
The game went over the impossibly low, six and a half run game total, by the fourth inning as neither starter was particularly sharp. In the end, it was Cole picking up another win as the Astros took the game 7-3. What can you do, if given the opportunity the back Chris Sale as a dog again, I will almost certainly take it again. In these tight matchups between two really good teams with great starters on the mound, somebody has to lose, it just so happened it was our side last night. For today’s pick, I will take a look at the game between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs.
The Chicago Cubs are in New York Saturday for game three of a four-game series with the Mets. The Cubs have dominated the series thus far as they hold a two-games to none lead in the series. Game one went to Chicago 5-1, behind a great start from Jose Quintana. Quintana pitched six shutout innings, and the Cubs cruised to the win. Game two also went the Cubs way as they came back from an early deficit to steal the game 7-4. Kyle Schwarber had the big hit as he blasted a three-run home run to open the game up late for Chicago.
Starting tonight for the Cubs is Mike Montgomery (1-1 4.35 ERA), and for the Mets, it is Jacob deGrom (4-0 1.52 ERA). The Mets are small -115 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 PM PST from Citi Field in New York City.
The Chicago Cubs were the prohibitive favorites to win the National League Central this season. They are starting to turn things around some after a slow start and have won five out of their last six games. But, they still trail the upstart Milwaukee Brewers by three games for the Central Division lead. The Central looks like it might be the most competitive division in baseball as four teams are above .500 entering play today.
When you look at the Cubs stats, they seem to be getting things done on both sides of the ball, and it would appear to only be a matter of time before they take over the Central Division race. Chicago is first in the majors in batting average and on-base percentage and they are sixth in runs scored. The pitching staff has been pulling their weight as well as they are third in the bigs in ERA and batting average against. This team is getting it done on both sides of the ball right now, and I expect big things out of them in the second half of the season.
Tonight, Chicago turns to Mike Montgomery as they look for the series win. Montgomery has been working almost exclusively out of the bullpen this year for Chicago. He has nineteen appearances and just one start on the year. He did pitch very well in that one start as he pitched five and two-thirds innings of shutout ball against the Pittsburg Pirates and picked up the win. It will be very curious to see how long Montgomery stays in the game as the most pitches he has thrown in a game all year if seventy-six and he has thrown over sixty just once.
For the Mets, they will turn to their ace, Jacob deGrom. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the deGrom is the best pitcher in the National league right now. His 1.52 ERA is almost a full half of a run better than the second-best in the league, and he is second in wins above replacement. His k/9 ratio is second in the league behind only the mighty Max Scherzer. It is hard to overstate just how good he has been this year.
In his last seven starts, deGrom has pitched forty and two-thirds innings and has given up just two earned runs. Two! He has at least eight strikeouts in six of his eleven starts this year. The Mets rotation has been a bit inconsistent all season long, with several guys coming and going, and deGrom has been the one guy that New York can count on to go out and dominate every fifth day. If you don’t count his rain canceled starts in between, deGrom has pitched seven innings or more in six straight starts.
This is a tight game. The Cubs are the better overall team. That really can’t even be argued against. But Jacob deGrom going against a bullpen arm at close to even money? How can I possibly pass up on that? The Mets bullpen has struggled to hold leads for deGrom so I will shy away from any thoughts of taking the run line. But when you have a guy on the mound that is likely to give you seven shutout innings, it is hard not to like that side.
So, I will back the best pitcher in the National League right now at a very attractive price at nearly even money, tonight in game three. Give me the New York Mets at -115 tonight at home!