The Chicago Cubs will host the Pittsburgh Pirates as the NL Central rivals kick off a four game series Monday night from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. The Pirates will hand the ball to 26-year old right-hander Jameson Taillon, and the Cubs will send 34-year old left-hander Cole Hamels to the mound. The Cubs lead the season-series 8-7.
Taillon Targets Fifth Win in Last Six Starts
Jameson Taillon will take the mound for the 31st time of the season, eying his third win of the month. Taillon was flawless in his previous performance, firing seven scoreless innings against the Royals, however, he received little run support and finished with the no-decision in a 2-1 Pirates win. The third-year right-hander is having a spectacular second half, and he now features a 3.24 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP accompanied with a 13-9 record in 178 innings logged on the year. Tallion has limited the Cubs to only four runs in 12.2 innings this season, and he stands at 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA in seven career starts against the division rivals.
Adam Frazier has fared well against the Cubs this season, notching 8 hits in 17 at bats with two homers and three RBI’s. The 26-year old second baseman is having a decent year, registering a .288 average with nine home runs and 33 RBI’s. Frazier has driven in three runs over his last five games. The Pirates are struggling to push across runs recently, and they are now averaging 4.28 runs, ranking them 21st in the Majors. The Pittsburgh pitching staff owns a 4.01 team ERA, pegging them 15th in the big leagues.
Hamels Squanders Season-High Seven Runs to D-Backs
Cole Hamels will make his 21st start and 11th start as a member of the Cubs in this one, aiming for his first win of September. Hamels was rocked in his previous start, surrendering seven runs in six innings to the Diamondbacks, leading to his first loss since joining the Cubs. The 12-year veteran left-hander has given the Cubs rotation a terrific boost, and he currently features a 3.90 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP accompanied with a 9-10 record in 177.2 innings logged. Hamels has dominated the Pirates this season, allowing one run (zero earned) with a 2-0 record in 12 innings, and he owns a 5-3 record with a stifling 2.49 ERA in 12 career starts against the division rivals.
Anthony Rizzo has enjoyed success against Pirates’ starter Jameson Taillon, collecting 9 hits in 18 at bats with five RBI’s. The 29-year old first baseman isn’t going to match his offensive stats from last season, although he is still having a solid year, hitting .276 with 24 homers and 95 RBI’s. Rizzo has notched three RBI’s in his last five games. The Cubs have been inconsistent at the plate as of late, and they are scoring an average of 4.70 runs, ranking them ninth in the Majors. The Chicago pitching staff features a 3.69 team ERA, good for fourth in the Major leagues.
The Chicago Cubs are:
- under is 6-0 in their last 6 home games.
- under is 18-6 in their last 24 games against the NL Central.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are:
- 6-1 in their last 7 games overall.
- 6-0 in Taillon’s last 6 starts.
- 4-1 in Taillon’s last 5 road starts.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am taking the Pirates in this matchup. The Pirates are playing solid baseball, winning six out of their last seven games, and they have limited their opponents to two or fewer runs in five games in that span. Furthermore, the Cubs have been inconsistent at the plate recently, averaging only 3.7 runs in their last ten games heading into Sunday’s game. In addition, the Pirates have won in Taillon’s last six starts.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Pirates +144
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is a strong option in this contest. The Pirates are only averaging 3.1 runs in 15 games against the Cubs this season, and the under is 4-0 in their last four games against the Cubs. In addition, the Pirates pitching has limited the Cubs to an average of 3.86 runs this season, and the under is 6-1 in Taillon’s last seven starts overall
Prediction: Under 8
Full-Game Prop Bet
The under on the Cubs team total is worth a look. Jameson Taillon has allowed two or fewer runs in six consecutive starts, and he has been going deep into games. Also, the Cubs have only scored a combined four runs in their last four games against the Pirates.
Prediction: Cubs Team Total: Under 4.5
First Five Innings Side Pick
I am sticking with Pittsburgh on the five inning line. Jameson Taillon has contained the Cubs lineup this season, conceding only four runs in 12 innings this season. In addition, Cubs’ starter Cole Hamels just allowed seven runs to Arizona in his latest start, and he has surrendered five home runs over his last three starts, so I expect a solid performance from the Pirates against Hamels.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Pirates +140
First Five Innings Total Bet
The under on the five inning total is a solid play. Jameson Taillon features a solid 3.23 ERA on the road this season, and he owns a dazzling 1.42 ERA over his last three starts. Furthermore, while I do anticipate some offense against Cole Hamels, he has held the Pirates to one run (zero earned) in 12 innings this season.
Prediction: Under 4.5
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
I expect a scoreless opening inning. Jameson Taillon is carrying a solid 3.60 ERA in the first inning this season. In addition, the Pirates are not productive in the opening frame, plating only 64 runs with a .240 team batting average.
Prediction: A Run in the First Inning: No -120