It’s a quick turnaround for the Chicago Cubs today as they travel to Pittsburgh for a 1:35 PM EST start after finishing up an 8-3 win over the Giants on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. It’s a big game for the Pirates, who just dropped 2 of 3 to the Cardinals to fall to 4.5 games behind the Brewers in the Central. The Cubs are right there at 5 games back so both teams want to get an early Memorial Day win in the May 28th MLB free pick.
Cubs Favored – But Should They Be?
Chicago is listed as favorites in this game but with a line of CHI -111 compared to PIT +102 this game is pretty much a toss up. The Cubs are showing signs of getting their bats going in what Joe Maddon hopes is a permanent manner. Chicago scored 18 runs over a 3 game set with the Giants – granted that is a San Francisco team that is 23rd in the majors in ERA. We’ll see what Chicago can muster today against Pittsburgh starter Chad Kuhl who they’ve faced a cumulative 71 times posting a .344 team average. Ben Zobrist could have a big day as he has 2HR against Kuhl in 10 AB while Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez both have long balls against him in limited plate appearances.
The Cubs might need a bunch of runs with the unpredictable Mike Montgomery on the mound. He will be making his first start of the year as the Cubs reshuffle their lineup in wake of Yu Darvish’s visit to the DL. Montgomery leads Chicago in IP as a reliever and had posted 5 straight outings of 0ER allowed. It was his last appearance on May 22nd that has Cub fans worried heading into the May 28th MLB free pick. Montgomery allowed 6ER in 2.1 IP in that appearance against the Indians. That doesn’t exactly exude confidence heading into Monday afternoon’s start.
Pirates Look to Bury Cubs in the NL Central
The Bucs had owned the Cardinals with a sweep back in late April but they failed to continue to burn the Redbirds after dropping 2 of 3 at home to St. Louis. That marks a 2-4 stretch against division opponents the last six games after also losing 2 of 3 to the Reds. Pittsburgh hopes to continue their success against the Cubs, of whom they took 2 of 3 from at Wrigley in mid-April. The Pirates have hit well despite their recent skid as they’ve scored 4+ runs in 5 of the last 7. They also put up 19 runs in the series against the Cubs earlier in the season. The Pirates actually hit Montgomery pretty well too led by Jody Mercer (4-8, .500), David Freese (3-7, .429), and Josh Bell (3-8, .375).
It will be up to Chad Kuhl to contain the Cubs hitters coming off three straight no decisions. Kuhl has two outings of 1ER or less in his last four starts but he’s given up 7ER in 10.1 IP sandwiched between those games – both starts of which came at home. Chicago does hit right handers well with a .343 wOBA against them. Kuhl did struggle against the Cubs in 2017, going 1-2 with a 6.88 ERA in four starts. The good thing for him is that he’ll be up against a tired Chicago team in the May 28th MLB free pick.
May 28th MLB Free Pick Betting
Oddsmakers have set today’s total at 9 and to be honest both teams should plate some runs today. Pittsburgh has a .387 wOBA against LH pitching while ranking 7th in the majors in runs/game – Chicago being 3rd. In researching this game the line has already shifted to PIT -110, CHI +100 so it is a PK depending on which sportsbook you go to. Betting indicates that too with a slight 53% favoring the Bucs. With the Cubs coming in a bit groggy after Sunday Night Baseball, the lean for the game has to be on the Pirates. Then again Chicago has generated instant offense all weekend so at the very least we should expect a high scoring affair.
Free Pick: Chicago Cubs / Pittsburgh Pirates *Over* 9