Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Chicago Cubs look to avoid the home sweep as they host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on Sunday. The Cubs are -150 favorites over the Pirates with an over/under of 8 runs.
Just when it looked like the Chicago Cubs couldn’t play much worse, they were embarrassed at home for the second day in a row by the Pirates. The Cubs managed just three hits on Saturday, two of them that never left the infield as Alfonso Soriano Doubled to center and Darwin Barney and Luis Montanez both beat out infield hits as they failed to get a runner anywhere near scoring. Randy Wells’ return from the disabled list didn’t go well as he allowed five hits and five runs while striking out seven throwing 92 pitches and lasting just four innings. James Russell, Scott Maine, and John Grabow all saw action in relief and all allowed even more runs to score. Chicago looks to salvage a win in the series on Sunday as they start Ryan Dempster who has won his last two decisions. For the season Dempster has allowed 74 hits and 44 earned runs while striking out 57 in 63 innings of work.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in fourth place in the National League Central and while this team is still below .500, they are clearly headed in the right direction. Roger Cedeno, Lyle Overbay, Chris Snyder and Andrew McCutchen all homered in a 10 hit 10 run offensive assaults on Cubs pitching. Pirates starter Paul Maholm was perfect through five innings but ended the day allowing just three hits and striking out four going the full nine innings and facing 30 batters for his second win of the year. For Sunday’s game Pittsburgh goes for the sweep as they send Jeff Karstens to the mound for the start. For the season Karstens has allowed 47 hits and 18 earned runs while striking out 36 in 45.1 innings of work.
Chicago is 5-12 in their last 17 home games, 0-6 in their last six games against the National League Central, and 3-7 in Dempster’s last 10 home starts. Pittsburgh is 5-0 in their last five against the NL Central, 6-2 in their last eight against a right handed starter, and 2-11 in Karstens’ last 13 road starts. Chicago is 1-4 in Dempster’s last five home starts against the Pirates.
The Pirates have owned the Cubs for quite some time and Dempster has been a big part of that as well, a trend I see continuing in this spot. I’m taking the Pirates plus the 130 today.
Pittsburgh Pirates +130 Chicago Cubs