MLB Baseball Betting: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

MLB Baseball Betting:  Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

With the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs taking the day off on Saturday we’ll turn our attention to Major League Baseball. At the top of the board is a NL Central matchup between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Cubs days as ‘lovable losers’ appears to have come to a welcome demise. Chicago is absolutely eviscerating their competition in the early going. They’ve got a 7.5 game lead over the second place St. Louis Cardinals atop the NL Central. This isn’t hard to do when you’ve got the ‘best record in baseball’–a term not usually associated with the Cubbies. Chicago is 26-8 entering Saturday’s action winning 8 of their last 10 games. They’ve been excellent at home (13-5) and on the road (13-3) and have destroyed their divisional rivals in head to head play (14-2). Perhaps their most impressive statistic is their 15-2 +10.8 unit record against opponents with winning records.

The Pirates aren’t a bad team at all–in fact, they’re one of the ‘opponents with winning records’ that the Cubs have beaten so handily. Pittsburgh might not be in the ‘above .500’ club for long if they don’t start playing better. They’re 3-7 in their last ten games and have played better on the road (11-10) than at home (7-7). But at 18-17 with two more games left in a weekend series against the best team in baseball their stay in the ranks of winning teams is definitely in danger. Pittsburgh will start lefthander Jeff Locke in today’s game–the Pirates are 1-5 in Locke’s six starts this season though much of the problem is lack of run support. Locke has pitched well in his recent outings with a 2.84 L3 ERA but he’s just 1-2 in those games.

Another problem–they’re facing a monster in Chicago starter Jake Arrieta. Arietta has been downright beastly this year and is an early candidate for the NL Cy Young Award. Cubs are 7-0 +7 units when he starts, he’s got a 1.12 ERA, a 0.875 WHIP and 44 strikeouts to only 16 walks. Cubs are 4-0 against the Pirates this season already. They’re also 6-2 +2.8 units against left handed pitching averaging 5.7 runs per game. Cubs are doing it all at the moment with the best team ERA in baseball and the #3 runs total. Don’t want to get in front of this Chicago freight train at the moment.