Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Pick 7/1/19

by | Jul 1, 2019 | mlb

Chicago Cubs (45-39) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (39-43), 7/1/19
Time: 7:05 pm ET Monday, July 1
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA
Listed Pitchers: Adbert Alzolay (1-0, 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP) vs. Trevor Williams (2-2, 4.25, 1.19)
TV: ESPN, NBCS Chicago, SportsNet Pittsburgh

Moneyline: Pirates -105/Cubs -105
Over/Under: 9.5

The Cubs are treading water as of late, while the Pirates are playing some good ball, heading into the opener of a four-game NL Central rivalry series Monday night at PNC Park. Chicago hasn’t won a series in three weeks, while Pittsburgh is 3-1-1 over its last five. Who do we like here for our free MLB pick?

MLB Betting Odds

Monday’s MLB betting odds opened this game at right around a pick ’em, with an over/under of 9.5 runs. Both those figures were holding steady in the early betting action then.

Cubs vs. Pirates Set-Up

Chicago just lost two of three games in Cincinnati over the weekend, losing Sunday’s series rubber match 8-6. Just prior to that the Cubs split four games at home with Atlanta, and just before that they split four games at home with the Mets. Going back a bit further Chicago is only 8-12 over its last 20 games.

At 45-39 overall the Cubs are tied with Milwaukee for first place in the NL Central, which also means they’re tied with the Brewers for the lead in the National League wild-card race.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, just lost two of three games in Milwaukee over the weekend, losing Sunday’s series rubber match 2-1. The Pirates scored a total of five runs in that series.

Just before that Pittsburgh took two of three games from the AL West-leading Astros in Houston, and just before that the Pirates swept three games at home from San Diego. So Pittsburgh is 7-3 over its last 10 games.

At 39-43 overall the Pirates trail Chicago and Milwaukee by five games in the NL Central, and they’re four games back of Philadelphia and Colorado in the battle for the second NL wild-card spot.

This series is the second meeting between these two teams this season. Back in April the Cubs took two of three from the Pirates back at Wrigley Field.

Monday’s Starting Arms

Williams, by our strict standards, is 5/11 on quality starts this season but 0 for two since doing a stint on the DL with a sore side. Last Tuesday he gave up four runs and eight hits, including a couple of home runs, through 6 2/3 innings of a 5-1 Pittsburgh loss at Houston. And just before that he got knocked around for seven runs and nine hits, including two dingers, through five innings against Detroit, although the Pirates won that game 8-7.

Pittsburgh is 7-4 with Williams this season, but he can’t take credit for all that.

In three starts last year against Chicago Williams allowed just five runs and 16 hits through 18 innings. Thanks to poor run support the Pirates lost two of those three games.

Rookie righty Alzolay will be making his second career ML start Monday, to go along with one appearance in relief. Last Tuesday, in his first career start, he held Atlanta to one run and one hit through 4 2/3 innings of a game the Cubs eventually lost 3-2. And 11 days ago, in his ML debut, he held the Mets to one run and one hit through four innings of relief in a 7-4 Chicago victory.

So on the whole, Alzolay has allowed just two hits through 8 1/3 innings of ML work, although both those hits were homers.

Alzolay earned his call to the Bigs last month by going 33-24 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in parts of seven seasons down in the Minors.

This being Alzolay’s first-ever start against Pittsburgh could give him an edge, at least for the first couple of times through the lineup.

Monday’s Batting Splits

Chicago is batting .256/.338/.454 against right-handed pitching this season.

Pittsburgh is batting .268/.332/.434 against RH pitching this season.

The Bullpens

The Cubs bullpen owns a 3.99 ERA this season and a 1.38 WHIP while allowing a .726 OPS.

The Pirates pen owns a 4.98 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP while allowing a .785 OPS. Numbers like those “help” this unit rank among the bottom quarter of bullpens in Baseball at the moment.

Totals Report

  • Overs are 42-40 in Cubs games this season.
  • Overs are 47-32 in Pirates games this season.
  • Overs are 23-11 in games played at PNC Park this season.
  • Unders are 2-1 in Cubs-Pirates games this season.

Free MLB Pick

Based on recent performance, we give Chicago a short edge in the pitching match-up. Or at least it’s a push. The Cubs also hold a solid advantage in the bullpen comparison, so we’re going with the Cubbies for our free MLB pick here.

Take the Cubs -105