The Chicago Cubs (4-3, 3-2 home) battle the Texas Rangers (4-4, 0-2 away) to close out a three-game interleague series. Chicago clinched the series win with a 10-3 victory on Saturday, building on its 2-0 win over Texas on Friday. These two teams won’t face each other again for the remainder of the season.
The first pitch of Sunday’s series finale is at 2:20 p.m. EST inside the confines of Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The matchup is a pick ‘em, while the over/under total is eight runs.
What to Know – Texas Rangers
The Rangers swept the Philadelphia Phillies in the season-opening series but have lost four of their last five since. Texas returns home following today’s matchup and resumes American League play. The Rangers are one-game back of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Right-hander Jon Gray (0-1, 2.84 ERA, 0.95 WHIP) is the expected starter for the Rangers. The 31-year-old picked up a tough loss in his debut, surrendering two earned runs on four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over 6.1 innings in a loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Gray was 7-7 with a 3.96 ERA and 134 strikeouts over 127.1 innings of action last year in his first season with the Rangers.
Offensively, the Rangers are in the bottom half of the league, hitting .239 as a team and scoring 4.9 runs per game. Texas has scored over five runs just once since opening up the year, plating 11 and 16 runners.
Nathaniel Lowe leads the team in runs batted in production with seven, and Mitch Garver is next on the team with six RBIs. Lowe also leads the team with nine hits, while Corey Seager sports a team-high .276 batting average and .389 on-base percentage.
What to Know – Chicago Cubs
Chicago has won three in a row to get back even on the year after a 1-3 start. The Cubbies are 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central race. Chicago stays home to begin the week and hosts the Seattle Mariners in another AL vs. NL series.
The expected starter for the hosts is Jameson Taillon (0-1, 6.75 ERA, 2.00 WHIP). The 31-year-old right-hander was knocked around in his opener, coughing up three earned runs on seven hits and one walk and striking out two over 4.0 innings.
On offense, Chicago has performed well at the plate, ranking fifth in MLB, hitting .281 as a team and scoring 5.7 runs per game. The Cubs have hit double-digits in run production in two of their last three outings.
The Cubs added some pieces to the offense in the offseason, and they stepped up earlier this year. Eric Hosmer, Trey Mancini, and Cody Bellinger have each driven in six runs apiece, while Dansby Swanson leads the Cubs, hitting .429 (12-of-28) with a .500 slugging percentage.
The Pick is In
Gray has the edge on the mound in Sunday’s matchup, and the Rangers have the pieces on offense to take advantage of Taillon, who was knocked around in his season debut. We like the Rangers in this matchup.
The Pick: Texas Rangers ML