The Cubs have taken 2 of 3 so far this weekend in Pittsburgh which is kind of astounding considering they’ve scored a total of 3 runs in those games. The Chicago offense is struggling a bit, but at the same time the Pirates have scored just 3 times in the series as well – all in yesterday’s 3-0 win. Oddsmakers have set Pittsburgh as favorites today (PIT -120) but can the Cubs get one to make it 3 of 4 in the ‘Burgh in the August 19th NL free pick?
Another Low Offensive Output for Chicago Today?
The Cubs bats are pressing as evidenced by Tommy LaStella being the only player hitting above .292 over the past 7 days. Chicago has scored 1 run or less in 5 of their last 9 games which has to be a major factor in why the August 19th NL free pick O/U is set at just 8 runs. Even so, Joe Maddon’s team isn’t a bad bet today considering they’ve won 6 of their last 7 Sunday contests and are 5-2 in their last 7 road tilts. The Cubs also have a .446 collective average against Pirates starter Jameson Taillon. Javy Baez is 9-13 (.667) with 2HR against Taillon and Anthony Rizzo should have a big day as he’s 8-16 (.500) with two dingers against the right-hander.
The biggest reason Chicago is listed as an underdog today (CHI +110) is because Jose Quintana (10-9, 4.46 ERA) is taking the hill. The left hander has had one of the worst seasons of his MLB career and has allowed 5+ runs in three of his last 4 starts. He gave up 3HR to Milwaukee in his last start and has surrendered 17ER in his last 20.1 IP. Today marks Quintana’s first start vs. Pittsburgh this year but he could have success as the Pirates are just 2-6 their last 8 vs. a lefty.
Pirates Struggling Despite Yesterday’s Win
The Pirates are just 1-5 in their last six games and are just 1-4 in their last 5 at home. Pittsburgh has also dropped 7 of their last 10 to Chicago at PNC Park. Clint Hurdle’s team was shut out on both Thursday and Friday so their offense has seen its fair share of struggles as well. The Pirates have also hit just 1 HR over the last 7 days which is surprising considering Josh Harrison, David Freese, and Jody Mercer and Elias Diaz have all hit over .300 during that span. Pittsburgh batters have limited experience against Quintana, but do have a .312 collective average in 32 AB.
Jameson Taillon (9-9, 3.66 ERA) gets the ball for Pittsburgh today looking to find more success than he’s previously had against Chicago. The right hander is just 3-3 with a 4.86 ERA in six starts vs. Chicago in his career. The Cubs put up 3ER on 7 hits against him on July 31st in what ended up being a 5-4 Pittsburgh win. Taillon has held opponents to 3ER or less in every start since May 22nd which bodes well for an ‘under’ play today. The Pirates have also won 5 of the last 6 times Taillon takes the mound on a Sunday.
August 19th NL Free Pick Betting
Both teams are pressing on offense a bit which does bode well for an ‘under’ play today. That being said, Quintana has been so erratic in his last four starts he might allow 5-6 runs himself. Taillon is the more stable pitcher in this game and is enough to side with Pittsburgh in today’s contest.
FREE NL Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates -120