Boston Red Sox -118 at Chicago Cubs +111 (Total: 9)
Franklin Morales (0-1, 3.04 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.91 ERA)
Let’s just all be honest here; this game sounds a lot better on paper than in present day reality. The Cubs are absolutely horrible, and the Red Sox, the more time elapses this season, the more they are looking like a last-place team as well. Tonight, two of the most storied franchises in sports meet in one of the most storied ballparks in all of sports. The teams may not be fantastic, but it is at least interesting television.
The Red Sox, with Josh Beckett headed to the DL, have even more pitching woes than before and as a result are forced into utilizing Franklin Morales in a starting role. Morales has not started a game since 2009 when he played for the Colorado Rockies. Suffice it to say this doesn’t bode particularly well for the already-struggling Sox who have watched the Yankees explode away from them in the last two weeks (not to mention the Orioles, Rays…)
The Cubbies have the second-worst home record in all of MLB, and send veteran lefty Paul Maholm to the mound tonight, seeking his first win in six starts dating back to May 6th. He has been poor in his last three starts in particular, going 0-2 with a 5.86 ERA. With both teams sending shaky starters to the hill tonight, it seems like a good opportunity to put a decent amount of runs across the plate.
The Red Sox generally fare well against left-handed pitching, batting .262 as a team and averaging over 5.5 runs per nine innings. I expect them to get to Maholm early and often, and then work on a less-than-stellar Chicago bullpen. The Cubs on the other hand, have been pretty dreadful against left –handed pitching, batting just .224 and scoring a league-worst 2.72 runs per contest, however, I am assuming the majority of their previous left-handed opponents have made a start within the past 33 months. Just an assumption, but I feel pretty confident on that point.
If I needed to pick a winner tonight, I’d lean towards the Cubs at home, simply for the plus-money value of a team facing a guy who is shaking off three years’ worth of dust. But the pick I really like tonight is seeing some runs cross the plate and easily eclipsing the nine run total.
Free Pick: Total Runs OVER 9 (-110)