It used to be when you made a baseball you took just the teams. But as betting on baseball has evolved, most books now give you the option to name your starting pitchers for a matchup. That way, if for some reason, the starters that were advertised don’t actually pitch, your bet has no action. That is what happened to us last night when we backed the San Francisco Giants at home against the Chicago Cubs.
There is certainly a big difference between backing Johnny Cueto and his 1.95 ERA and backing Derek Holland and his 4.20 ERA. And that is why I always list my starting pitchers on a bet. If you are going to lay down your hard-earned money on a game, you want to have as much information as possible.
And in a situation like last night where they switch out the starters on you at the last second, it is always nice to have that security blanket around your bet. You can always bet it again if you think the switch benefited you, but in last night’s game, it clearly did not as the line moved a full thirty points once the change was announced. For today’s pick, I will stay right here in San Francisco for game three of the series between the Cubs and Giants.
The Chicago Cubs are in San Francisco Wednesday for the rubber match of a three-game series with the Giants. This series has been highly competitive and very low scoring. The Giants took game one 2-1, and Chicago battled back to take game two last night 2-0 to tie up the series at one game apiece. Game three features another set of starters that could keep this series low scoring as both guys have had solid results this season.
Starting for the Cubs is Mike Montgomery (3-3 3.68 ERA), and for the Giants, it is Johnny Cueto (3-1 1.95 ERA). The Cubs are small -109 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 PM PST from AT&T Park in San Francisco.
This is going to sound a little strange, but yesterday I was very optimistic about Johnny Cueto returning to the mound healthy. After missing two months of the season, Cueto returned last week and got hammered pretty hard early on against the St. Louis Cardinals but managed to settle down after a rough start. I figured with a full five days rest he would come back even healthier and start to perform as he did earlier in the year when he was enjoying his best season yet.
But then yesterday they decided to push back Cueto’s start another day. Which tells me he wasn’t ready to go yesterday and that he is not as healthy as I thought he was. Giants management is trying to claim it was all a big misunderstanding and that they were always planning on giving him an extra day’s rest, but I don’t buy it. The probable starters were listed all week long, and they never mentioned anything until right before game time. Something happened with Cueto that spooked the Giants, and they decided to push him back at the last minute.
And that scares me. If this guy wasn’t ready to pitch yesterday what makes him so ready to go today? On top of the fact that I thought Cueto would be healthy yesterday, I also liked betting against Jose Quintana, who has been very inconsistent this season. Quintana ended up pitching very well, so maybe we got bailed out with Cueto getting scratched. For today’s game, I think Mike Montgomery is going to be even tougher to hit than Quintana was yesterday.
Montgomery started his season out in the Cubs bullpen and has transitioned to a starting role recently. As a starter, he has enjoyed quite a bit more success than he did working out of the bullpen. When he joined the rotation on May 28th Montgomery had an ERA of 5.33. After eight starts he has now gotten that ERA down to a very respectable 3.68. Surprisingly for the Cubs who love playing at home, Montgomery has been much better on the road this season. Away from Wrigley Field, Montgomery has a 2.02 ERA in thirty-eight innings pitched. At home? His ERA balloons all the way up to 5.57 with thirty-two innings pitched. He should enjoy pitching in the notoriously pitcher-friendly confines of AT&T Park today.
I don’t think Johnny Cueto is ready to pitch today. It wouldn’t shock me if they keep him on a tight pitch count and he will likely not make it past the fifth inning no matter what the circumstance may be. That makes me lean towards the Cubs in this matchup. I think Montgomery will be solid again and with Cueto as a big question mark I will gladly jump on the Cubs side in this one. Give me the Chicago Cubs as small road favorites tonight in game three from San Francisco at -109!