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Reply To: NL Wild Card – Previews, Articles, Info. Wednesday 10/7/15

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Coach Fletcher’s Wednesday MLB Free Play

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pick Cubs/Pirates UNDER 5.5 -105

Arrieta is Not Human

Jake Arrieta is probably not human. He may be a machine, like the one in the old ‘Twilight Zone’ series.

The Pitchers

Arrieta, Cubs

If he doesn’t win the Cy Young this year I will be an unhappy camper. With no offense intended to Zack Greinke, what Arrieta has done is beyond incredible. Jake is 22-6 on the year with a 1.77 era and a 0.86 whip. He’s 13-1 on the road with a 1.60 era and a 0.871 whip. In his last 3 he is 3-0 with a 0.318 whip. He’s 14-2 in night games with a 1.51 era. He’s gone 5-0 in September and October allowing 2 runs in 48 innings. He’s 12-1 after the All-Star break with a 0.75 era. LH hit .159 against him and RH hit .207. He’s had the best second half era in the history of baseball. Jake is 6-1 against the Bucs with a 1.68 era. In 6 if his 8 starts against the Pirates the total has gone under.

Cole, Pirates

Gerrit Cole is one hell of a pitcher. But his numbers are dwarfed by Arrieta. Cole is 19-8 on the year with a 2.64 era. His whip is 1.10. He’s 9-3 at home with a 2.64 era. In his last 3 starts he’s gone 3-0 with a 2.57 era and a 0.905 whip. He’s 9-7 in night games with an ear of 3.00. He went 4-1 in September with a 3.29 era. Since the All-Star break he’s gone 6-5 with a 2.98 era. LH hit .227 against him and RH hit .251. Cole is 7-1 against the Cubs with a 2.88 era. 6 of his 9 starts against the Cubs have gone over.


Cubs – 3.27 era on the road; 75.7% save to blown save ratio

Pirates – 2.39 era at home; 77.8% save to blown save ratio

These are not the type of pitchers where teams have sustained rallies. Arrieta has given up 10 honme runs in 229 innings and Cole has given up 11 home runs in 208 innings. McCutcheon is the only Pirate hitting over .300 against Arrieta. Cole has had less success against the Cubs, but only 2 batters with significant at bats are hitting over .300 against him. Each pitcher has given up one homer to the opponent.

The Hitters


The Cubs average 4.3 runs per game and give up 3.8. They average in the low to mid 4’s in almost every offensive scenario. What stands out is that their staff has allowed opponents 1.3 runs per game in the last 7.


The Pirates offensive run scoring numbers are similar to the Cubs but a little lower overall. They have only averaged 2.9 runs per game in their last 7 games. They have also scored less than 4 runs in division play.

Odds and Ends

Using numbers other than pitching figures is not nearly as crucial in the post season as it is during the regular season. That’s because we are seeing pitching match-ups that are rare during the regular season. For example, no pitcher in the history of baseball allowed fewer earned runs in the second half of the season than Arrieta. But the total was never as low as 5.5. In two games the total was 6 and in just two others the total was 6.5. Three of the 4 went under. Cole had three games at 6.5 and one at 6. Those totaled 2 over and 2 under.

The Cubs were a slightly under team this season with 53.7 % of their games going under. The Pirates were an even 50- 50. When the total was 7 or under 57.5% of Cubs games went under but 54% of Pirate games went over. It pretty much went the same throughout the list of possibilities. The Cubs normally trended to the under and the Bucs trended toward the over.

Coach’s Conclusion:

As crazy as UNDER 5.5 sounds, I like the under here for a few reasons. One, I like the under any time Arrieta pitches. The total has gone under in his last 6 starts with a push coming on the 7th start. Only 5 of his last 20 starts went over. 12 went under and there were 3 pushes. Cole’s games went 11-9 in favor of the under.

This is a one game playoff so the pressure is on the hitters and the pitchers. But going against a strong pitcher is more unnerving than being the guy tossing the ball. That should benefit the pitchers.

Both bullpens are great. The Cubs pen is outstanding at 3.27 on the road, but the Bucs at 2.39 at home is fantastic. There’s no tomorrow for the loser so nobody will be held out.

While it may not be exceptionally cold, it won’t be a warm evening at PNC Park. The temperatures will start in the low 60’s or upper 50’s and drift very close to the upper 40’s before the game ends. Winds aren’t expected to be strong, but any win will make it cooler and you know there will be some win.

The Pick Cubs/Pirates UNDER 5.5 -105