It’s been an interesting holiday weekend in the National League. Two weeks ago, the conversation was if the Dodgers could be the best team in modern baseball history. Now the question is “would they be favored against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS??” The Dodgers are just 2-8 in their last ten games with injury concerns mounting. Meanwhile, the D’Backs have ripped off ten straight wins, including an impressive sweep of the Dodgers are the latest NL team to have the look of “team to beat.”
Of course, that is overlooking LAST year’s “team to beat” – the reigning World Champion Cubs. Chicago looks the be primed for another postseason run. They’ve won seven of ten overall, all of their wins coming by more than a run and several tallying 17 runs in the process. Their pitching still has some question marks, but if Lester and Arrieta can even approach their level past two seasons of work, that offense is scary…
The only real drama left in the National League, aside from the seemingly-less likely Cubs collapse, is for the final wild card spot. Colorado seems to be experiencing their typical late season swoon, and it has opened the door for the Brewers who just won’t completely go away.
We start the final four weeks of the season today, so no time like the present to start a nice winning streak and charge towards the postseason….
Today’s MLB Pick:
Chicago Cubs -175 at Pittsburgh Pirates +160 – Total: 8
Jake Arrieta (14-8, 3.36 ERA) vs. Chad Kuhl (6-10, 4.54 ERA)
The Braves finally cooled off the Cubs yesterday with a 3-1 series-ending victory, but prior to yesterday’s effort, the Cubs has ripped off six straight wins, and all covering the runline in the process. They had outscored their opponents by a stunning 32 runs, or 5.3 per contest, and will be looking to get back on track to day against a familiar foe in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates got back on track, taking two of three against Cincinnati, but prior to that series has just gotten smoked in a three game sweep in Wrigley by a combined score of 27-5. Will a change in ballparks yield a massive change in results? The Pirates hope so, but I’ll back the Cubs today in a late afternoon Labor Day tilt at PNC Park.
The Cubs are well positioned for another comfortable win with Jake Arrieta on the mound. Their former Cy Young winner has been in good form lately, dropping his ERA back into the low three’s. Since the All-Star break, he is 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA and has delivered eight quality starts in nine outings. He’s been the ace the Cubs need to make a run at defending their crown. Their 32-16 mark since the Break indicates they are a real threat in October.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has been ice-cold against their rival Cubs, going 5-14 SU in their last 19 games against Chicago. Chad Kuhl has allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of 17 starts, but his reasonable sample size against Chicago is cause for concern, posting an 11.07 ERA in six career starts.
I like Cubs to pick up where they left off against Pittsburgh and continue their surge towards October.
Today’s MLB Pick: CHICAGO CUBS RUNLINE -1.5 (-110)