Chicago Cubs Odds
The Chicago Cubs badly needed a solid outing from a starter Wednesday night and got it from Kyle Hendricks in an 8-2 win at Pittsburgh. In Thursday’s series finale, the Cubs aim for a sweep behind right-hander Alec Mills (3-2, 5.23 ERA), who after two outstanding starts to open 2020 has been hit hard in three of his past four outings.
Mills relies on mixing up pitches and hitting spots, much like Hendricks, but has failed to get through the fourth inning in two of his last three outings.
That stretch includes a three-inning, four-run outing on Saturday night at Cincinnati in the nightcap of a doubleheader that the Reds won 6-5. Maybe the punchless Pirates can help Mills miss barrels.
Pittsburgh Pirates Odds
There isn’t much to boast about on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching staff, unless you’re into ghastly WHIPs and ERAs. But one of the team’s intriguing arms toes the rubber in Thursday’s series finale with the Chicago Cubs.
That’s 26-year old rookie JT Brubaker, making his fifth major league start. Brubaker has no decisions in six outings and a 4.50 ERA, which doesn’t sound great. Nor does a 1.40 WHIP, the result of 10 walks in 20 innings.
But Brubaker has allowed only 18 hits and has fanned 22, which suggests that he does have stuff that can play at this level. He fired three scoreless innings of relief against Chicago last month, so perhaps he can give Pittsburgh a good start.
Cubs vs. Pirates Betting Pick
Beating up on losing teams is even more vital than usual in a 60-game season, and Chicago has inflicted some welts on Pittsburgh with a 5-0 head-to-head mark. However, with a big five-game series against St. Louis on the horizon, this could be a spot where the Cubs are caught looking ahead.
Cubs vs. Pirates Betting Pick: Pirates (+130), Cubs (-150
Pirates 5, Cubs 4
Cubs vs. Pirates Best Bet
Chicago averages more than four walks a game and hits its fair share of homers but also strikes out nearly 10 times per game. Brubaker’s strikeout stuff means the Cubs could be walking back to the dugout more than usual in this one. Take a flyer on Chicago hitting the double-figure mark in whiffs Thursday.
FLM Best Bet: Cubs over 9.5 strikeouts