Baseball Picks: Cubs at Pirates Odds and Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 9/12/2013
The Chicago Cubs will try and put a kink into the Pittsburgh Pirates NL Central title plans when the two division foes clash this Thursday night in Game 1 of a four-game weekend series at PNC Park. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (ET), and the game will be available on MLB Extra Innings.
Chicago has already played the role of spoiler in this three-way race for the division title by beating Cincinnati twice this week. It will wrap up its road series against the Reds on Wednesday afternoon. The Cubs are now 6-4 in their last 10 games and 3-1 in their last four on the road.
It has been a long time coming, but the Pirates guaranteed themselves a winning season with back-to-back victories over Texas this week that has them at 83-61 on the year. They will play the third game of that series on Wednesday before returning home from a nine-game road trip in which they have already gone an even 4-4.
Cubs at Pirates Betting Storylines
They say that misery loves company, so Chicago can’t be too thrilled that a fellow bottom-dweller in the division has finally made a move to the top of the heap. The Cubs have a solid grasp on one of the two final spots in the NL Central at 62-82, but the good news is that they have actually played much better on the road this season at 33-36. The other ray of hope for this game is that despite the fact that Chicago is ranked ninth in NL in scoring with an average of 3.92 runs a game, it has pounded out 30 runs in its last six games.
The Cubs’ pitching has not been all that bad this season with a team ERA of 3.94. They will go with Chris Rusin as their starter for Thursday night. He is 2-3 on the year, but his 2.89 ERA is the second-lowest in the Majors among rookie left-handed starters. He is 1-0 against the Pirates this season with a 2.90 ERA.
Pittsburgh’s two wins over the Rangers has it just one game in back of St. Louis in the division race and even with Cincinnati for one of two wildcard spots in the NL. The main problem down the stretch for this lineup has been consistently getting runners across the plate. It managed to score a total of just 15 runs in a recent four-game slide, with eight coming in one game. Overall, the Pirates are ranked 11th in the NL in scoring with an average of 3.90 runs a game.
Fortunately, their pitching has remained rock-solid all season long across the board from the starters to the bullpen with a team ERA of 3.29. Look for Jeff Locke to take the mound in this game as the Pirates starter. The left-hander is 9-5 this season with a 3.23 ERA, but he has earned only one decision in his last nine starts. He also leads the NL in walks with 78.
Cubs at Pirates MLB Betting Odds and Trends
The Cubs are 4-5 in their last nine road games and 4-8 in their last 12 games against the NL Central. The total has stated “under” in three of their last four games.
The Pirates are just 3-5 in their last eight games at home and 2-5 in their last seven games against divisional opponents. The total has gone “over” in four of their last six games.
Head-to-head this season, Pittsburgh has a slight 7-5 edge overall that includes a 4-2 record at home. The total has stayed under in five of the six games played at PNC Park.
Baseball Picks: Cubs at Pirates Predictions
Most of the matchups between these two have remained low-scoring affairs, especially in the games played in Pittsburgh. While I would give the overall edge to the Pirates as far as playing the sides, with two starters that are both sporting rather low ERAs going against lineups that are not known for producing a lot of runs, I would stick with the under as the top play for Thursday night.
How about $60 worth of member’s baseball picks absolutely free? – You can use this $60 credit for any of our top MLB handicappers.Get on board now.
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
Get all of Today's MLB Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert MLB Picks