Tuesday MLB Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions for Cubs vs. Pirates: Offenses Have Edge Against Jose Quintana, Drew Smyly
Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Drew Smyly
- The Pirates send Jose Quintana to the mound for their home opener against the Cubs.
- Chicago sends Drew Smyly to the bump, and with both pitchers past their prime the target here should be the total.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Cubs vs. Pirates Odds
|Time||4:12 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Chicago Cubs had a positive opening weekend with a series win against the rival Brewers. They now head to Pittsburgh for a quick two-game series with the Pirates that opens Tuesday afternoon.
The Cubs are riding high early on after taking down the Brewers’ trifecta of aces, and saw rookie sensation Seiya Suzuki put together an excellent start to his promising big league career.
The Pirates managed a 9-4 win Sunday after some tough luck on hard-hit balls in the opening two contests against the Cardinals, and will look to keep the momentum going offensively after rain postponed their series finale in St. Louis Monday.
The Pirates have a good opportunity to do so against veteran junkballer Drew Smyly. They will counter with a former Cub, Jose Quintana.
Pirates Open Home Slate With Quintana
Quintana was a pretty clear below-average starting pitcher last season by most metrics. He had a 6.43 ERA, and although his xERA says that mark was a bit unlucky, it was still a moribund 5.02.
He owned a very poor wOBA of .366, and a 45.5% hard hit rate, which was among the worst from pitchers who threw at least 50 innings. A strong K rate was overshadowed by a 11.8 BB%, and overall we simply saw a lot of flaws with Quintana both in the actual results and the underlying numbers.
In nine spring training innings this year, Quintana allowed four home runs and pitched to an ERA of 11. While for a lot of established players a small spring training sample shouldn’t be weighted heavily, for someone who is clearly just falling into regression in older age and struggled badly last season, it’s likely more meaningful.
Although the Pirates project to be in the bottom handful of teams offensively, they did show some real promise on the weekend in St. Louis. The Pirates managed a .317 wOBA in the series, with a 114 wRC+ throughout the small three-game sample.
Against a pitcher like Smyly, the Pirates will need to keep their plate discipline in check, as Smyly’s high chase rate figures to be one of his top assets.
Cubs’ Offense Impressive Early
Offensively, the Cubs showed some real promise against the Brewers, especially when weighing the fact that they faced Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta and some of the traditionally strong Milwaukee relievers.
The Cubs put together a .338 wOBA in those three games with a wRC+ of 127. They displayed some great discipline against some elite pitchers in that series. Suzuki, set the tone, displaying the otherworldly understanding of the strike zone that made him such a hot commodity prior to his debut in the big leagues.
Quintana features one of the worst stuff+ ratings of any big league starter this season, and should the Cubs stay disciplined and force Quintana to stay inside the zone for outs, it should be another productive day.
Smyly posted an xERA of 5.09, and saw his xwOBA rise over the final 100 batters he faced. He features a three-pitch mix, with a fastball in the bottom-fifth of eligible starters in spin rate.
With his stuff dropping off slowly due to age, it’s hard for me to imagine much improvement as he enters his age-32 season.
While neither offense is expected to be particularly north of average this season, I believe we have an edge in the first 5 innings total at 4.5 given the lack of quality from the starting pitching.
These offenses should manage a crooked number or two in the first half of the game, and so there’s plenty of value in that number down to -120.
Pick: 1st 5 Innings Over 4.5 -120 (Play to -125)
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