The first game of the full start of the second half of the MLB season is Friday afternoon from Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs look to stay in first place in the tight NL Central Division as they host the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs will be favored on the MLB Lines.
How to Bet Pirates vs Cubs MLB Odds & Game Info
- When: Friday, 2:20 PM ET
- Where: Wrigley Field
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Chris Archer/Yu Darvish
- TV: MLB Network
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
- Radio: 670 The Score
- Opening MLB Lines: Chicago Cubs -165
Why Bet on Pittsburgh?
The Pirates are hitting .311 in their last 22 games and enter this series with a .271 batting average, that’s second in the majors. The Bucs haven’t led the National League in hitting since 1991 (.263). Melky Cabrera ranks second among all big-league players with a .381 batting average in day games this season, going 37-for-97 with four homers, 19 RBI and a .412 on-base percentage. He has reached base safely in 20 of his last 21 afternoon affairs and in 25 of his 30 overall.
At the break, All-Star Josh Bell leads qualified Pirates hitters in nearly every offensive category. The only category in which Bell isn’t first or second in batting average, where Bell ranks fourth. He leads the majors in RBIs.
Reliever Richard Rodríguez has a scoreless streak of 17.1 innings. Rodríguez owns the longest active scoreless streak in all of Major League Baseball and the longest scoreless streak by a Pirates pitcher this season. Last year Trevor Williams tossed a club-best 21.0 straight scoreless innings from July 11 to August 5.
Expected to be Chris Archer for the Bucs. Archer recorded eight strikeouts and allowed three runs on five hits and three walks across five innings in a no-decision against the Cubs last Wednesday. Archer’s troubles keeping the ball in the park persisted, as the right-hander yielded two long balls in this start. However, they were both solo shots.
Archer did strike out at least eight batters for the third time in his last five outings. Archer has missed plenty of bats (88 strikeouts in 78.2 frames), but that’s partly offset by a career-high 2.3 HR/9 and 4.7 BB/9. Those two figures help explain why he is 3-6 with a 5.49 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 78.2 innings this season. He has career-worst marks this season when it comes to home runs (2.3) and walks (4.7) allowed per nine innings.
After not throwing a sinker for three years from 2015-17, according to MLB’s Statcast, Archer is throwing them 15.8 percent of the time this season … and the results haven’t been good. Opponents are hitting .400 against Archer’s sinker this season with a slugging percentage of .867.
- Runs: 4.85
- Hits: 9.54
- Walks: 2.72
- Strike Outs: 7.87
- Runs: 5.26
- Hits: 9.17
- Walks: 3.63
- Strike Outs: 8.89
Why Bet on Chicago Cubs?
The Cubs have been a great second-half team under Joe Maddon, going 189-103 after the All-Star Break. The team’s .647 winning percentage is best in all of baseball by a wide margin. Cleveland is a distant second with a .608 mark (175-113) in that span, which would represent a 12.0-game deficit in the mythical standings. The Dodgers are the closest N.L. team with a 163-119 record post break, 16.0 games behind the Cubs.
Much of this second half success seems to be attributed to Maddon’s careful management of his players’ time on the field. He’s not afraid to give star players time off to keep them fresh for when they are needed most.
After notching his third All-Star appearance, 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant has gotten off to a scorching hot start in July, batting .429. Javier Báez has 23 doubles, 22 home runs, and 62 RBI this season, only the second player in franchise history to reach those totals by the All-Star Break, joining Derrek Lee (27-27-72 in 2005). Báez has batted .289 with 38 doubles, 37 homers, 99 runs scored and 101 RBI in 157 games since last year’s All-Star Break, the only player in all of baseball to reach those totals in doubles, homers, runs, and RBI in this time frame.
Chicago’s Yu Darvish recorded six strikeouts and allowed four runs on seven hits across 6.2 innings during a no-decision against the Pirates last Wednesday. The 32-year-old didn’t issue a walk Wednesday, but he did yield two homers. Darvish has allowed nine home runs in his last five appearances, and he only avoided a loss Wednesday because the Cubs responded with a homer to take the lead after he departed. Darvish is 2-4 with a 5.01 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 111 strikeouts in 97 innings this season.
Darvish is an ugly 0-6 with a 5.91 ERA in 13 career starts at Wrigley Field.
- Runs: 5.06
- Hits: 8.52
- Walks: 3.83
- Strike Outs: 9.02
- Runs: 4.44
- Hits: 8.36
- Walks: 3.44
- Strike Outs: 8.57
Pirates vs Cubs MLB Betting Trends
- Under is 9-2 in the last 11 meetings in Chicago
- Pirates are 4-11 in their last 15 road games vs. a right-handed starter
- Pirates are 5-11 SU in their last 16 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Pittsburgh’s last 11 games when playing on the road against Cubs
- Cubs are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games against an opponent in the National League
- Cubs are 47-17 in their last 64 home games vs. a team with a losing record
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Cubs’ last 5 games at home
Expert Final Score Prediction for Pirates vs Cubs
Pittsburgh Pirates 4 – Chicago Cubs 5