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Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery was the on the mound when the Cubs won the 2016 World Series. Can he make his fourth straight quality start against the Brewers today?
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB Picks column. Our nemesis Chase Anderson had a very strong showing against the Cubs yesterday, only allowing one hit and two walks over seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 Brewers win. We knew that it wasn’t our day after this ridiculous play - why didn’t Chatwood just throw the ball to second before Yelich got there? There were three Cubs there to catch it if he did; too bad nobody was covering first.
We’re moving on from that unsatisfying bet yesterday, but we’re not moving on to a different series. The third of Milwaukee’s three starting pitchers that we’re targeting is up today, and we’ll be hoping that the Cubs offense can wake up from the nap that they took yesterday. Let’s get into it.
Chicago Cubs (Montgomery) at Milwaukee Brewers (Chacin)
Jhoulys Chacin had a mediocre start his last time out, going 6.1 innings and giving up four runs to the Phillies. Lucky for him (and unlucky for us), Phillies starter Vince Velasquez got blasted to the tune of 10 earned runs, and Chacin moved to 5-1 on the season with the win.
That 5-1 record, along with his 3.58 ERA, keeps Chacin squarely in our crosshairs as a pitcher to fade as his projected stats are those of a below-average starter. While his current strikeout and walk rates (6.81 K/9, 3.58 BB/9) aren’t pretty, they’re right in line with his projections. The stats that are helping Chacin achieve that solid W/L record and ERA are his homer rate and BABIP. His homer rate is 15th best amongst qualified starting pitchers, despite having a lower ground ball rate than anybody ahead of him except Justin Verlander. While Verlander has the power of the strikeout helping his cause, it seems to us that Chacin has just been lucky that more balls haven’t left play against him this season. Chacin’s luck becomes more obvious when noting that he has the 12th highest Hard% amongst those same starting pitchers. It seems highly likely that a greater percentage of balls put in play against Chacin are going to start landing in play, or better yet, in the seats.
Mike Montgomery, probably best known as the pitcher that was on the mound when the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years, makes another spot start today in place of the ailing Yu Darvish. Montgomery has been solid in his three starts so far this season, allowing one or less earned runs in each, and each were Cubs wins. While Montgomery doesn’t project to keep up that level of success, he does project to be better than Chacin over the course of a full season. His ability to keep the ball in the park over his career has been his main strength - his 0.79 HR/9 for his career is a very solid number. If he can keep guys like Travis Shaw and Christian Yelich from going yard today, he should be able to out-duel Chacin.
Speaking of Shaw, he provided most of the offense for the Brewers yesterday, hitting two two-run doubles and driving in all four Milwaukee runs. While he’s had a nice two-year run with the Brewers, his projections can’t seem to shake the off-year he had in 2016 with the Red Sox. Like Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, and Jesus Aguilar, the rest of the Brewers’ top sluggers thus far in 2018, Shaw figures to cool off as the season goes along. We’re hoping that starts today against Mike Montgomery.
For the third straight day, we believe that the Cubs will field the far superior offense and the better starting pitcher in a game where the moneyline is far closer to even that we believe it should be. That’s why we’re predicting that the Cubs get the series win today, and why we’re grabbing the Cubs -105 over at BetOnline. Go grab that line for yourself and enjoy some daytime baseball with some skin in the game.
Good luck to all of you out there, and be sure to check our homepage or our soccer betting page for our World Cup picks - the games start tomorrow, so be sure to get your bets in soon!
As always, let’s get a win!
Bet the Cubs -105
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