We have the National League Central Division to consider for Monday evening when the Chicago Cubs meet the Pittsburgh Pirates for game one of a four-game scheduled series. The Cubs are hoping to clinch the NL Central Division pennant and we’ll have to wait and see if the Pirates can play the spoiler in this contest as well as this series.
This preview was written prior to the start of Sunday contests and all opinions are based on Saturday night MLB action.
Cubs First in National League CentralChicago enters Sunday hoping to end a one-game losing streak but has won seven of his last ten games. Chicago has a 4.5 game lead over the St Louis Cardinals and a 5.5 game lead over the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. Infielder Ian Happ leads the Cubs with a dozen bombs and a team high 28 RBI this season.
Nobody puts Bote in the corner. pic.twitter.com/1UA8DFL5yP— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) September 20, 2020
The Cubs pitching staff ranks eighth in baseball with a 3.94 team ERA and the offense is ranked twenty-seventh with a .226 team batting average over 1661 at-bats this season.
Chicago is undecided as to who is going to start this game but whoever does is up against a Pirates offense with a 24 percent strikeout rate and .127 ISO over 1857 plate appearances this season.
Pirates Riding the Struggle BusPittsburgh enters Sunday hoping to end a three-game losing streak and has lost nine of its last ten games. The Pirates are 16 games behind the Cubs in the standings 10.5 games behind the Brewers and Reds. Infielder Colin Moran leads Pittsburgh with eight bombs and infielder Josh Bell has a team-leading 19 RBI.
The Pirates offense is twenty-eighth in baseball with a .218 team batting average and the pitching staff is twenty-first with a 4.98 team ERA over 442.1 innings pitched this season.
Righty J.T. Brubaker (1-2, 4.79) is the Pittsburgh probable starting pitcher, and over 35.2 innings pitched has allowed 37 hits, 19 earned runs with four bombs, and 14 walks. Brubaker has struck out 36 and is up against a Cubs offense with a 26 percent strikeout rate and .186 ISO over 1417 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Cubs are the much better team and playing good baseball with the opportunity to possibly clinch the NL Central during this series. Brubaker is a bright spot for the Pirates but the offense sputters and is up against one of the better pitching staffs in baseball. We’ll see some Cubs strikeouts on Monday but they have enough power and better pitching to win this game. I will take Chicago to beat Pittsburgh in this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
I don’t see this game exceeding nine runs as only three of their previous six games exceeded nine runs. The Cubs pitching is too good and Brubaker is going to rack up enough strikeouts to assure us of this. The Pirates don’t have much power at all and have scored just 16 runs over their previous five games. I will play the UNDER in this contest.