MLB Vegas Odds & Expert Picks: Cubs at Pirates 09/07/17

MLB Picks and Parlays: Chicago Looks For Split With Pittsburgh in 4-Game Series

by @MattCashCapper

Vegas Odds by Bovada
Cubs  -135
Pirates O/U 8

Jon Lester

The Chicago Cubs probably consider themselves lucky they play in one of the weakest divisions in baseball. The Cubs lost three straight to Atlanta and Pittsburgh before righting the ship with a 1-0 win on Wednesday. Milwaukee had a golden opportunity to narrow the gap for the division lead, but they’ve also lost three straight -to the Reds- and so the Cubs lead in the division remains a comfortable 4.5 games.

On Wednesday Chicago prevailed 1-0 despite being held to just three hits on the night. Both Gerrit Cole for Pittsburgh Pirates (eight innings) and Jose Quintana for Chicago (six innings) engaged in a pitcher’s duel. The sole run came courtesy of a broken bat triple by Cubs catcher Alex Avila who happened to hit it away from the shift. That allowed pinch runner Leonys Martin plenty of time to score from second base for the winning run. Wade Davis capped off a perfect night for the Cubs bullpen for his 29th save.

The loss snapped the Pirates four-game winning streak as they managed to take the final two games of their series with the Reds before winning the opening two here. The pitching staff has been great, allowing just five runs through the five games. That includes a 12-0 win in their opener here and a 4-3 win in the second game.

Chicago swept the Pirates last week when the series was in the Windy City. They outscored Pittsburgh 27-5 in those three games.

That’s part of a Cubs run where they are 17-9 in their last 26 games.

Jon Lester (9-7, 4.46 ERA) returned to the rotation last week after a two week absence. He allowed four runs in five innings in a 14-12 win over the Braves. It snapped a three-start run where the Cubs lost each of those games. The usually steady veteran has had an up and down season this year. His ERA in August was 7.20 and that followed a three-start sequence post All-Star break where he allowed five runs in 22 innings and had appeared to regain his mojo.

Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.50 ERA) has already come back from cancer this year, so 2017 is an unqualified success. But after a strong start to the season, he hit a rough patch where he gave up 26 runs over 20 innings in four of six starts between July 25th and August 22nd. In his last two -both against the Reds- he’s allowed two runs (one earned) in 10 innings of work and Pittsburgh has won both of them.

 

Cash It In: Chicago are -135 favorites and Pittsburgh +115 underdogs. I like Taillon to keep up the hot pitching for this Pirates staff and a Pittsburgh win. Pirates 5-2.

MLB Expert Picks and Parlays: Pittsburgh +115 &  Under 8

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