Chicago Cubs at Baltimore Orioles MLB Series Betting PreviewMLB.tv Radio: 670 The Score (Chicago) / 105.7 The Fan (Baltimore) MLB Series Odds: TBA
Schwarber On Block?One reason the World Series champion Cubs are below .500 is because Kyle Schwarber has been such a disappointment at the plate – and now he reportedly is on the block. Schwarber frankly should be in the American League where he can DH. In this series, he can. It’s well-known the Cubs are out looking for young, cost-controlled pitching. One rumor making the rounds is they offered Schwarber to the Tigers for young pitcher Michael Fulmer, the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year, and Daniel Norris. The Tigers wouldn’t do that even though Schwarber could be a beast as a full-time DH. Schwarber’s struggles this season — he exited the first half hitting .178/.300/.394 — haven’t changed the fact that many teams want him. Schwarber’s 0.3 WAR ranks 139th in the bigs. The failed leadoff hitter has an on-base percentage of .300 and still isn’t slugging .400. The designated hitter masquerading as a left fielder in the NL is slugging just .269 against lefties and has an on-base- plus-slugging percentage against righties of only .725. The Cubs, for their part, could still use a young starting pitcher. Seven pitchers have made at least five starts for them this season, and only one (Eddie Butler) was younger than 27.
More Cubs StrugglesThe Cubs are 13-14 in their last 27 games since June 11. Just once in that stretch has Chicago won consecutive games, that coming during a three-game winning streak, June 18-20 at Pittsburgh (1-0) and vs. San Diego (2-0). The Cubs entered the break 5.5 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central. That half-game could be important. The eight times Chicago has entered the break either in first place or within 5.0 games of the division lead, the team has advanced to the postseason five times (1998, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2016) and missed the playoffs three times (1996, 2001 and 2009). Of the Cubs’ 74 games remaining, 53 are against teams currently owning a record that is below .500, or 72 percent of them. The Cubs have not been more than four games over .500 or two games under .500 at any point this year. Furthermore, the Cubs have not been more than two games over or two games under .500 at any point in the last month-plus since May 27. The Cubs have allowed 80 runs in the first inning this season, covering 88 games. The Cubs allowed a total of 71 first-inning runs in their 161 games last year. This season, the Cubs are 29-14 when Cubs starting pitchers go at least 6.0 innings, including a 17-6 record the last 23 times it happened. But only going at least six innings 43 times in 88 games is not good.
Orioles Also StrugglingBaltimore’s run of four straight years with the major league home run leader and five straight years in the majors’ top three in homers might end this year. The team that led the majors with 253 home runs last season had 123 at the break, 11th most in the majors. The Birds do get a slugger back here in former MLB home run king and first baseman Chris Davis. Since Davis left the Orioles’ June 12 game with a with a strained right oblique, the team is well under .500. Davis was batting .226 with 14 home runs, 26 RBIs and a league-leading 95 strikeouts in 61 games. The injury should at least save Davis from a third straight 200-plus strikeout season. Last year, Davis batted .200 after the All-Star break, hitting 16 home runs and driving in 26 runs with 97 strikeouts in 71 games. In addition, injuries and age have cracked the strong parts of their defense, and a rotating cast of pitchers have made the bullpen unstable. The Orioles bullpen boasts a 4.11 ERA, good for eighth in the American League and 15th overall.
Previous MLB Series Results
- 2003 – Cubs won the series 2-1.
- 2008 – Orioles won the series 2-1.
- 2014 – Cubs won the series 3-0.
Latest MLB Series Trends
- Cubs are 2-4 ATS in the last 6 games
- Orioles are 2-5 ATS the its last 7 games
- Cubs are 2-4 SU in the last 6 games
- Orioles are 2-5 SU in the last 7 games
- The total went OVER in 4 of Chi Cubs’s last 6 games
- The total went UNDER in 9 of Baltimore’s last 13 games