The Royals didn’t bother to show up for the second straight game at Camden Yards, as Dylan Bundy delivered a gem out of nowhere. The bad beats keep coming, but we can try to turn things around tonight with an interesting showdown between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
This series got started with a bang on Monday, as Chicago ripped off an incredible 16 runs and Jon Lester even homered in a huge win. Chicago has been a different team ever since they traded for Jose Quintana, while the Cubs have specifically gone a blistering 8-2 over their last 10 games. That hot run has Chicago sitting in first place in the NL Central, beating out the Milwaukee Brewers at the moment by 2.5 games.
Chicago’s plan is to obviously widen that gap, and with a solid 28-22 home record and a red hot offense, they figure to have a solid chance to do that tonight. Vegas clearly likes the Cubs in this spot, but the line isn’t so inflated that we can’t get a little value in this spot. Then again, there might actually be enough gas to fuel a D’Backs road upset.
Arizona is a different team (24-28) on the road and they’re slumping right now (lost two straight, 4-6 over their last 10 games), but they still have an offense that can tear apart any ace. The addition of J.D. Martinez has made this offense as explosive as ever, too, so we need to mind them with a nice +137 line as the road underdogs tonight. Should we take the safety and value with the Cubs or aim high with Arizona? Let’s dig a little deeper to find out:
Arizona Diamondbacks (+137) @ Chicago Cubs (-157) Total: 8
Zack Godley (4-4, 3.06 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (10-7, 4.03 ERA)
This game is actually one of the tougher ones to call when we look at the matchup. Godley has been pretty stellar in 2017, as he’s displayed a strong K rate and tends to manage games well. He did get roughed up for 10 runs in two recent starts, but calmed back down with a shutout gem on the road against the St. Louis Cardinals in his most recent outing.
Godley absolutely can piece together another strong performance in this spot against the Cubs. The 27-year old righty gets a positive park shift outside of the ever hittable Chase Field and he’s been a steady hand on the road, dealing a 3.04 ERA to go with a solid .237 collective allowed batting average.
There is a lot of power in Chicago (12th in HR against righties), but the Cubs haven’t been an efficient offense on the year (28th in batting average) when facing right-handed hurlers. That isn’t to say the Cubs will fire off or they won’t connect on Godley, but he’s snapped back to his best form and may not be the easiest out.
On the other side the Cubs have Arrieta toeing the rubber. The 31-year old righty has a tougher matchup by the numbers, but gets the added benefit of playing at home, where he’s 3-1 with a respectable 3.86 ERA. Arriets has been at his best here, overall, holding opposing batters to a .225 batting average and giving up just 4 of his 17 homers here.
While Arrieta is the easier pitcher to back here, the Diamondbacks are no easy assignment. Arizona is as good as ever offensively, while they carry the same power upside (13th in HR) and are more efficient (6th in batting average) compared to the Cubs when taking on righties.
Arrieta arguably has been in better form lately, as the veteran hurler has kept it together lately, allowing 3 or fewer runs in each of his last 5 starts. Arrieta’s K rate has dipped in 2017 and he’s had some issues with walks and steals, but he does a solid job at limiting hard contact and managing games.
The big kicker here is Arizona’s inability to consistently produce on the road. The Diamondbacks can fire off in any spot, but they’re facing a tough pitcher and their road numbers aren’t scary (24th in home runs, 27th in batting average).
Arizona isn’t a terrible upset play here, simply because they also need to keep winning to stay in the playoff hunt, they have a dangerous offense and their pitcher could match Arrieta. However, we actually get solid value with the Cubs here and with Arrieta looking stable, they look like the better bet. We can aim high for Chicago’s -1.5 Run Line (+145), but I prefer taking them straight up at home.