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Reply To: MLB Previews, Articles, Info, etc, Wednesday 9/16/15

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Coach Fletcher’s Wednesday Free Pick

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburg Pirates

The Pick – Chicago Cubs -135

Am I Going to the Well Once Too Often?

For weeks people have been telling me “You can’t take Arrieta. He’s due for a loss.” And for weeks I’ve been cashing a ticket on Arrieta. When was his last loss? July 25th Arrieta lost to the Phillies of all teams. He’s won 9 straight. The over/under is 3-8-1 in his last 12.

The Pitchers

Arrieta, Cubs

I like Arrieta over Greinke for the Cy Young in the NL. Jake is 19-6 with a 1.99 era. His whip, if you like stats like that, is 0.92. He is quite the road warrior. Arrieta is 12-1 on the road with a 1.72 era. In his last 3 starts he’s gone 3-0 with a 0.36 era. Yes, 0.36. He’s 5-1 versus the Bucs with a 2.05 era. In his last 3 starts against the Bucs he has given up 11 hits and 2 runs in 21 innings. He’s walked 4 and fanned 19. He’s shooting for his 17th straight quality start. He leads the majors in wins. One Pirate, Andrew McCutcheon, is averaging over .272, and he’s at .444. 9 Pirates are hitting .200 or under against Arrieta. He’s 7-0 in his last 7 starts with a 0.53 era. In his last 15 games he is 12-1 with a 1.08 era. He’s given up 1 earned run in his last 3 starts. He’s 11-2 at night with a 1.84 era. He’s 9-1 with a 0.93 era since the All-Star break. LH are hitting .159 against Arrieta and RH are hitting .225. And you’re telling me he opened at -135? And the Dodgers Brian Anderson opened at -250 against the Rockies Tuesday night? I’ve heard it before. He has to lose sometime. And that’s the truth. But I’ve been riding him a good while and if he has to lose, I’d prefer him to be in the -135 range.

Burnett, Pirates

Don’t get me wrong, I like A.J. Burnett. A lot of guys would have hung it up with the injuries he’s had. He’s just off the DL again and we have to wonder which Burnett will show up today. Burnett is 8-5 overall with a 3.14 era. He’s 2-3 at home with a nice 2.33 era. Not so good is the fact that in his last 3 starts he’s got an era of 9. After missing all of August, Burnett returned Sept. 10 and gave up 3 runs on just 3 hits, I of which left the park. This occurred in 5 innings. The unusually high era is due to the fact that he was clobbered in the two starts before he went back on the DL. In 10 innings he was roughed up for 21 hits and 13 runs. In his last 7 games he is 2-2 with a 5.75 era. In his last 15 he is 6-4 with a 3.87 era. He’s 6-4 at night with a 3.70 era. LH are hitting .252 against Burnett while RH are hitting .290. Six Cubs are hitting .333 against Burnett. Anthony Rizzo is only hitting .240 but he has cracked 2 home runs against Burnett. A.J. is 8-4 lifetime versus the Cubs with a 2.91 era. This year in April and May Burnett threw 13 innings against the Cubs and allowed 11 hits and 1 run.

The Bullpens

Cubs – 3.53 on the road ; 42 saves, 19 blown saves (Pray we don’t see Rodney)

Pirates – 2.36 era at home ; 48 saves, 12 blown saves

The Pirates have the bullpen edge – no doubt there. If Fernando Rodney comes in for the Cubs just turn off the tv and count your losses.

The Hitters

Cubs – The Cubs score 4.3 runs per game overall. They jump up to 4.5 rpg on the road. The nick RHP for 4.3. They’ve stepped it up in their last 7 averaging 5.9 runs per game. They average 4.5 at night and 4.3 in division. The Cubs are dead last in MLB with a team batting average of .243. They are 28th in MLB in hits per game at 8.22. They are 8th in HR per game at 1.11.

Pirates- The Bucs also average 4.3 runs per game. At home they average 4.4 and the same number goes against RHP. The past 7 games they’ve score 5.7. They score 4.4 at night and 4.1 against division rivals. They are 8th in MLB overall batting average at .260 and 8th in hits per game at 9.06. They are 21st in MLB HR per game at 0.87.

Even though the Pirates rank much higher in hits per game and batting average, the Cubs power allows them to score more runs. I’d consider the offensive numbers about even.

Odds and Ends

Cubs – The Cubs are 83-61. They score 4.3 rpg and allow 3.9 for a PLUS run differential of 0.4. They are 32-22 when the total is 7 or less. They are 28-12 when the line is -100/-150. They are 10-3 when the line is -125/-150. The Cubs are 40-33 on the road and 18-8 on the road when the total is 7 or less. The Cubs are 33-25 vs division foes. At night, the Cubs are 50-32. They are 65-48 against RHP. The Cubs are 48-34 playing teams with winning records. In September Cubs are 9-5.

Pirates – The Pirates are 87-67. They score 4.3 runs per game and give up only 3.7 for a PLUS run differential of 0.6. The Bucs go 39-22 when the total is 7 or less and they are 3-2 when home dog between +100/+125. At home the Pirates are an outstanding 50-23 and 25-11 at home with the total 7 or less. The Bucs are 8-7 in September. One troubling number for Buc fans is the fact that they are 29-36 against division opponents. At night they are 61-42 and the Pirates eat up RHP at the rate of 70 -44. The Pirates are 63-36 against teams with winning records.

The teams both have good numbers here. The Pirates are exceptional at home with that one exception. The fact that they have a losing record against division opponents could be a big problem.

Coach’s Conclusion- I cannot forgo an opportunity to take Arrieta at what I would consider a low number. No disrespect toward the Pirates is intended. It is just too hard to pass up a pitcher of his caliber at this number. I’m taking the Cubs.

The Pick Chicago Cubs -135