Cubs Await the Yankees in Chicago as MLB Betting Favorites

Posted by Peter Brennan on Thursday,May 4, 2017 1:24, EST in

The network executives at Fox TV would literally wet themselves with happiness if we were to get a World Series this October between the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs, the two most popular teams in baseball and two huge TV draws. It could, happen, too. First things first, though: the Bombers make a rare trip to Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon to open a three-game interleague series. Chicago will be favored on MLB odds.

NY Yankees at Chicago Cubs MLB Betting Preview & Analysis

When: Friday, May 5, 2:20 PM ET
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago
Probable pitchers (away/home): Michael Pineda/Kyle Hendricks
TV: MLB Network
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioNew York / Chicago
Opening MLB Lines: Cubs favored by TBA

Why Bet On NY Yankees?

The best hitter in the Grapefruit League this spring was Yankees first baseman Greg Bird. It looked like the team had a new star in the making. But Bird is just further proof that spring numbers just don’t matter. The Yankees knew they had to do something at first base with Bird hitting an abysmal .100 (6-for-60) with one home run and three RBIs in 19 games.

So Bird magically got hurt and the Yankees placed him on the 10-day disabled list earlier this week for a bruise on his right ankle he suffered at the end of spring training. Brian Cashman has been asked if Bird should try to fix his game at Triple-A, but Cashman has said no.

“A bone bruise can take months and months to heal,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “Players deal with them all the time. We felt like his ankle wasn’t working properly, and [Monday] was the first day I really noticed it.” Girardi added there is no exact timetable for a return. The 24-year- old Bird shoulder surgery before spring training last season that sidelined him for most of the year.

Bird might be joined on the DL soon by outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. He’s dealing with a bruised nerve in his elbow after crashing into the center-field fence while making a terrific leaping catch in the Yankees’ 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Monday evening. Ellsbury is hitting .282/.344/.412 with three homers and nine RBIs in 24 games this season.

It’s Michael Pineda on the mound for the series opener. Pineda (3-1) allowed two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out eight over 5.1 innings to earn the win Saturday against the Orioles. Pineda fired five innings of shutout ball before getting into a bit of a jam in the sixth frame, but after throwing 100 pitches, he was removed from the contest. He’s now held opponents to two or fewer runs in three of his last four outings while posting at least six strikeouts in every one of his 2017 appearances.

Only three current Cubs have faced Pineda in a regular-season game.

Why Bet On Chicago Cubs?

Reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant is dealing with a nagging injury but doesn’t expect to miss any time – it’s worth monitoring, however. Bryant made an eighth-inning exit Tuesday after experiencing some calf tightness, but he assured reporters after the game that it’s nothing major. “100 percent, 120 percent — 300 percent” said Bryant of continuing to play through it.

Kyle Schwarber might be ready to break out of his slump as he had a three-run homer in Tuesday’s win over the Phillies. With that, Schwarber became the fastest Cubs player to reach 20 home runs in his career (97 games) with his fourth-inning blast.

In his first full season as the team’s starting catcher, Willson Contreras is excelling. Contreras leads the league with eight caught stealing. He also ranks eighth in baseball in putouts as a catcher (164). It’s his cannon of a right arm that really keeps opponents on their toes. He’s thrown out just under half of would-be base stealers this season, coming in at 47 percent. The hitting hasn’t kicked in yet. His slugging percentage is down nearly 100 points from 2016 in a small sample size. His batting average has also fallen – down from .282 in his rookie campaign to .233 in 2017.

It’s 2016 NL Cy Young ERA champion Kyle Hendricks on the mound here. Hendricks allowed two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out six over six innings for a no-decision in Sunday’s 6-2 loss to Boston. That’s back-to- back quality starts for the 27-year- old right-hander, and he matched his season high with six Ks in a game. It’s also a good sign that he was able to hold the hot-hitting Red Sox lineup in check. Hendricks is sporting a mediocre 7.1 K/9 this year but is inducing groundballs on 49.4 percent of batted balls. Hendricks has never pitched against the Yankees and thus only former National Leaguers Chris Carter and Matt Holliday have seen him.

NY Yankees at Chicago Cubs MLB Betting Pick: Chicago Cubs

The Yankees lose a big bat in the DH for this interleague game, and Hendricks was the majors’ best pitcher at home last year – even if he has struggled at Wrigley in 2017.