We’re in September, which means that the MLB Playoffs are just around the corner! Who takes it when the Chicago Cubs battle NL Central rival Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Aug. 31? Can the Cubs score runs versus one of San Francisco’s aces on Sunday, Sept. 4? Who wins when NL East heavyweights Washington and the New York Mets throw down on Sept. 4?
Analyzing My MLB Free Picks Aug 29-Sept 4
Pittsburgh at Chicago Cubs
When: Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 8:00 pm ET
Listed Pitchers: PIT – Ryan Vogelsong vs CHIC – John Lackey
Analysis: Former San Fancisco pitcher Ryan Vogelsong’s WHIP this season leaves something to be desired. At 1.28, Vogelsong is walking hitters each start, that’s for sure. But, his ERA of 3.02 is terrific, meaning that most of the walks per innings pitched could be strategic. His road ERA of 3.46 isn’t all that bad, either.
The Cubs bat .287 against Vogelsong. That’s music to the ears of John Lackey who should be ready for this start on Aug. 31 since going to the DL on Aug. 15. Lackey was seen playing catch just the other day. There’s no telling how great his arm will be, which is why it makes sense for me to go with the Pirates who, no doubt, will be a big underdog versus the Cubs on the road on Wednesday.
Lackey allows the Pirates to bat .314. I think Pitt has a shot.
San Francisco at Chicago Cubs
When: Sunday, Sept. 4 at 2:20 pm ET
Listed Pitchers: SF – Johnny Cueto vs CHIC – Kyle Hendricks
Analysis: Johnny Cueto is enjoying himself as a San Francisco Giant. He has a 2.86 ERA and a sweet 1.08 WHIP. His record is 14 and 4. He’s also had decent success versus the Cubs when allowing a .258 batting average from 182 at-bats. Cueto’s away ERA is a decent 3.08.
Kyle Hendricks has been a pleasant surprise for Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon. Hendricks has a 2.19 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Hendricks’ home ERA is an unreal 1.31. Since Cueto is the known pitcher in this matchup, Hendricks and the Cubs may go off at higher odds than they should. That’s what I’m hoping for. I think that Chicago gets to Johnny Cueto before the Giants get to Kyle Hendricks.
Pick: Chicago Cubs
Washington at New York Mets
When: Sunday, Sept. 4 at 8:00 pm ET
Listed Pitchers: WAS – Tanner Roark vs NYM – Steven Matz
Tanner Roark’s 2.99 ERA and 1.19 WHIP is one of the reasons why the Nationals are a hot pick to win the NL. Roark is that third pitcher to go with Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. Versus the Mets, Roark has allowed a .219 batting average.
Mets’ listed starter Steven Matz may or may not get the start on Sunday. He had a pitching session on Friday. The Mets are going to decide if Matz is the guy on Tuesday. If he starts on Tuesday, he’s almost certain to start on Sunday.
It doesn’t matter to me. Washington should offer value on the board no matter who the Mets start on the mound. I don’t think the Mets can score runs on Roark. If they do, Washington has one of the best bullpen’s in MLB. I like Washington as a slight underdog.