Toronto Blue Jays (58-62) vs. Chicago Cubs (61-56)
MLB Baseball: Friday, August 18th, 2:20 pm EST
J.A. Happ (6-8, 3.63 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (12-8, 3.73 ERA)
Line: Chicago -170
The Blue Jays are in Chicago for the weekend, with Friday kicking off the three game series. The Blue Jays have been playing well lately, and they are shockingly, right in the middle of the AL Wild card race. It’s one of the most pathetic races I can remember in a long time with the Angels holding the last wild card spot being only three games over .500. Toronto trails by just 3.5 games.
While the Blue Jays have won four of five, the Cubs have just been playing .500 ball, just like they have been doing all year long. They were a great champion last year, but they haven’t played like that team at any point in this season. They currently lead the Brewers by 1.5 games for the NL Central lead.
Happ is pitching great
J.A. Happ was never going to live up to last season, when he had an outlier for his career. He was downright phenomenal and was in the Cy Young race for basically the whole season. This season he’s been beset by injury and pitching for a lousy team, but he still has managed to put up decent numbers, despite his under .500 record at 6-8.
He’s also pitched much better lately, allowing one earned run in each of his last three starts. He’s won all three of them, including the latest over the Pirates, and he looks to be the best Blue Jay pitcher going out the moment, with all due respect to Marcus Stroman. If they do get lucky enough to make the playoffs, Happ could be tough.
Arietta looks for 13th win
In what most people thought was an off year, Jake Arrieta will be looking for his 13th win on Friday and it’s only mid-August. He has pitched much better over the last month or so, and is 4-1 with a no decision over his last six starts. He’s won his last two starts as well. He’s lowered his season ERA in seven straight starts, and that’s tough to do this late in the season.
Overall this year, he’s now 12-8 with an ERA of 3.73. His WHIP and batting average against are very solid as well, coming in at 1.20 and .233 respectively. If the Cubs do hold on to win the division, Arrieta will be key with Lester, Hendricks, and Lackey not being as good as last year.
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 1-4 in Happ’s last 5 starts during game 1 of a series.
- 2-6 in Happ’s last 8 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
The Chicago Cubs are:
- 7-1 in their last 8 interleague games.
- 14-3 in their last 17 interleague games vs. a team with a losing record.
- 4-1 in their last 5 during game 1 of a series.
While the Cubs haven’t been great this year, they are still very good in interleague, winning 14 of 17 against teams with losing overall records. Arrieta has been pitching better as well. I like the Cubs on Friday.