The Chicago Cubs magical regular season came to its apex over the weekend, as they officially clinched a place in the postseason. This is the first postseason appearance by the Cubs since 2008. We all know the story about how the Cubs haven’t won a championship in over 100 years. The Cubs of 2015, a new brand of young Cubs, look to erase history with a World Series win. They had favorable odds to win it all before the season even started, so this is no fluke. No fluke from an odds maker perspective, and no fluke by looking up and down their roster. Before this season there weren’t too many recognizable names on this team, heck a lot of people still wouldn’t be able to recognize most of the Cubs. But they have a strong lineup, led by young players such as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Doesn’t sound like much, right? Make no mistake though, those are a couple of the players that have catapulted the Cubs into the postseason. Oh and having Jake Arrieta in your stable pitching doesn’t hurt all that much either. Look for Arrieta to win the Cy Young an possibly the MVP award as well in the NL. In my opinion he deserves both.
Tonight Dan Haren gets the start for the Cubs. Haren has etched a pretty nice career for himself, resulting in some good years with multiple teams across the majors. Haren is notable for his time spent in Arizona and LA with the Angels, where he had most of his success pitching. He isn’t the same pitcher that he was then, but it is pretty impressive that Haren is still maintaining solid levels pitching the baseball. The Cubs are a new team for him, as he spent most of the season with the Miami Marlins. Haren isn’t a guy you want pitching in the World Series in a crucial game or anything of the sort, but he will still give some solid innings of work. The Cubs have been playing complacent baseball lately in my opinion, losing three straight before beating the Pirates. But if you want to look at complacent, take a look at the Reds. Or should I say, just don’t care anymore?
Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds
Dan Haren (9-9, 3.83 ERA) vs. Joshua Smith (0-2, 7.23 ERA)
The Reds hand the ball to Joshua Smith tonight for the sixth start of his career. Smith is one of those rookies that belongs to one of those teams who are out of the playoffs, but want to take a look at what they have in their minor league system before next year. In other words, the Reds have been playing preseason baseball, in a sense, for a while now. Smith hasn’t done anything to extract any confidence in the Cincinnati organization. He enters with an ERA of 7.23 tonight and hasn’t exhibited much improvement over his first seven starts in the majors. The longest Smith has lasted is 5 innings, which occurred only twice. At home he has been getting destroyed, posting a 7.71 ERA and 1.71 WHIP pitching at the Great American Ballpark. Not the easiest places to pitch, and Smith has been exuding that fully.
Smith doesn’t exert much confident and neither does Dan Haren in my opinion, at least on the road where he has a 4.47 ERA. From what I have seen, pitching staffs don’t seem to care much near the end of the season. They don’t want to ruin their arms in what amounts to pointless games for a lot of pitchers. Bullpens are also tired after a full season of action. I took an OVER last night, and have to go back to the well again tonight with the OVER 9 between the Cubs and Reds in Cinci.
PICK: OVER 9 RUNS (-110)