Chicago Cubs (65-61) +105, o/u 9 at Arizona Diamondbacks (72-56), 9:40 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of Predictem.com
A couple of first-place teams meet in the desert when the Chicago Cubs visit the Arizona Diamondbacks for the opener of a three-game series Friday night in Phoenix.
Chicago just took two of three games from the Giants in San Francisco. But while the Cubs have won five of their last seven games, they’re still only 9-12 this month. Nonetheless, Chicago leads the National League’s Central division by a half-game over the second-place Milwaukee Brewers.
Arizona just lost two of three to Milwaukee at home, but is still 13-7 this month. The Diamondbacks lead the NL West by three games over the second-place San Diego Padres.
The Cubs are 32-30 on the road this season, and 10-11 as underdogs. Arizona is 38-25 at home, and 47-25 when favored.
The D-Backs took two of three games from the Cubs at Wrigley Field a month ago, the only encounter between these two teams so far this season. Last year, Arizona won the season series with Chicago four games to two.
The Cubbies are slated to send lefty Sean Marshall (6-6, 4.21) to the mound for Friday’s series opener, while the Diamondbacks will counter with Micah Owings (6-6, 4.70). Marshall has allowed 10 ER and 21 baserunners (hits + walks) in his last 15 1/3 IP, and Chicago is 8-8 in Marshall’s starts this season, the o/u 5-11.
Marshall has started one game in his career vs. Arizona, holding the Snakes to one ER and seven baserunners in six IP of a 3-0 Cubs loss a month ago.
Owings, who’s becoming known more for his offensive exploits than what he’s been doing on the mound, has given up eight ER and 18 baserunners in his last 19 2/3 IP. The D-Backs are 11-10 in Owings’ starts this year, the o/u 14-7.
Owings has made one career start vs. Chicago, limiting the Cubs to two ER and seven baserunners but needing 95 pitches to do it in four innings of a 3-2 Arizona win a month ago.
Chicago owns a .329 team OBP this season, which ranks 18th in the majors, and is averaging 4.6 runs per game. But the Cubs have only scored a total of 21 runs over their last six games.
Fortunately, Chicago pitchers have limited opponents to just 21 runs over those same last six games.
The D-Backs rank dead last in the league with their .317 team OBP, and are averaging 4.3 RPG. And while Arizona has only scored nine runs in its last four games, their usually solid pitching staff has given up 24 runs over that same span.
The Cubs bullpen has held foes to just two ER and 14 baserunners over its last 14 2/3 innings of work.
The Diamondbacks pen has allowed seven ER and 22 baserunners in its last 18 1/3 IP.
The Chicago line-up is still without key ingredient Alfonso Soriano, who’s on the DL with a quad injury.
The o/u is 55-64 in Cubs games this year and 53-66 in Arizona games, but 33-25 in games played at Chase Field.
The Predictem.com Pick: We like the D-Backs at -115.
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