Thursday, September 24, 2020, PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1:35 p.m. ET
Cubs at Pirates Betting Preview: Cubs (-184), Pirates (+158)
The Cubs (32-24) have struggled at the plate for much of the season, and that trend continued Wednesday in a 2-1 loss against the Pirates. It was Chicago’s second straight defeat against Pittsburgh, which aim to win the four-game series on Thursday. Anthony Rizzo belted his 11th home run and Cameron Maybin hit a pair of doubles for Chicago, but that was it as far as extra-base hits were concerned.
Chicago, which managed only five hits overall, remains in first place in the National League Central and has its magic number at three for clinching the division title.
Right-hander Alec Mills (5-4, 4.14 ERA) is set to take the mound, two starts removed from his no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this month. Mills is a finesse pitcher who relies on precise command instead of trying to overpower hitters, as evidenced when he fanned only two while throwing five innings of four-run ball at Pittsburgh on Sept. 3.
This has been a disappointing season for Pittsburgh, but the team has showed this week that it is not quitting on the 2020 campaign. The Pirates have posted back-to-back victories over Chicago to improve to 17-39 on the season.
The Pirates only managed a pair of runs on Wednesday, but it was enough. Adam Frazier and Ke’Bryan Hayes each went deep while Trevor Williams and Pittsburgh’s bullpen corps did the rest against the light-hitting Cubs.
Right-hander Chad Kuhl (1-3, 5.03 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Pirates. He is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against the Cubs this year, the same ERA he owns, to go along with a 1-6 record, in 11 career games (10 starts) vs. Chicago.
Cubs at Pirates Betting Pick for September 24, 2020
The Cubs are in a funk, and they could use a feel-good performance on getaway day before they head out of Pittsburgh. Look for Chicago to do enough to get the win and salvage a series split, although it will not erase questions about whether the Cubs have what it takes to make a deep playoff run. Mills has been steady lately and should continue his strong month against the Pirates.
Cubs at Pirates Betting Pick:
Cubs 4, Pirates 2
Cubs at Pirates Best Bet for September 24, 2020
At this point, until the Cubs show that they can put up a crooked number on the scoreboard, it is smarter to go with the under. They have some strong bats and could do damage against a pedestrian starter in Kuhl, but both teams could be sluggish in an early-afternoon game following an evening matchup that ended about 15 hours earlier. Mills is sneaky effective and could hold the Pirates at bay.
Cubs at Pirates Best Bet: UNDER 9 total runs (-118)
–Field Level Media