Mets Cubs Pick – NLCS Game Three

The Blue Jays answered the bell last night, piling seven runs in two-plus innings on embattled starter Johnny Cueto and then doing just enough to hang on to an 11-8 victory. The win stabilized the series and a subsequent win tonight can get the Jays back on level footing. The Cubs will be looking to do the same thing tonight; avoid falling behind 3-0, and keep home teams a perfect 6-0 in the Championship Round of the MLB Playoffs.

There is one major difference. The Jays, the most prolific offensive team in all of baseball, we returning home to face a struggling Johnny Cueto (yeah, I know his last outing was very good, but his last ten are terrible). The Cubs, a young free-swinging team, are returning home to face Jacob deGrom, an emergent star on top of his game.

So can they get a similarly desperately-needed result? Let’s dive inside tonight’s matchup to find a winning edge.

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Today’s Free Pick:

New York Mets -108 at Chicago Cubs +102 (Total: 7.5)

Jacob deGrom vs. Kyle Hendricks

If there was going to be a do-or-die game in Wrigley Field, it’s fair to say the Cubs would have preferred Lester or Arrieta on the hill. But seeing as both have already pitched this series, and lost by the way, it is on to Kyle Hendricks to save the season and keep the impossible dream alive.

Hendricks depends upon crafty control more than “stuff”, unlike the power arms in the Mets stable. However, it has been effective. He threw six shutout innings in each of his last two regular season starts. He also got banged around a bit by the Cardinals in the NLDS, allowing three earned before getting yanked in the fifth inning. The Cubs will be basically all hands (except Lester and Arrieta) on deck tonight, but they’d really LOVE to get the Hendricks that ended the season as opposed to the one that the saw in his first postseason outing.

The biggest obstacle for Hendricks might be Daniel Murphy. The NLDS hero has kept right on writing the fairy tale, homering in four straight postsesason games, on shy of the all-time record. It’s easy to say “pitch around him” but are you REALLY going to walk Daniel Murphy to get to Cespedes?? Murphy will continue to be the key for this team, but I think it is fair to assume he will regress to the mean soon.

So the big question is, can the Cubs score enough off Jacob deGrom to win this game? deGrom has been awesome, posting a 1.06 ERA in his last 17 innings pitched with 27 K’s to just 6 walks. The ability to miss bats has a great way of eliminating some of the risk on randomness and has been a long-standing formula for post-season success. However, as much as I like numbers and trends, sometimes you just have a strong feeling things aren’t going to go according to plan.

I like the home field and emotion tonight over the more-predictable Jacob deGrom. Give me the Cubbies to get just enough off deGrom to keep the game close and then to exploit the Mets bullpen. The Mets are a good value at the generous -108, but, apparently, like most of the betting public, I am going against the more sensible pitching matchup and instead backing the home field of the Cubs.

Free Pick: Chicago Cubs to WIN +102