Two teams from the vaunted NL Central Division slug it out this Wednesday in the NL Wildcard Game. Even though neither Chicago nor Pittsburgh won the NL Central, the division title went to St. Louis, both teams played so well during the regular season that they ended up in the NL Playoffs.
Because the game on Wednesday is single elimination, both Chicago and Pittsburgh will have their respective aces on the mound. The Cubs send Jake Arrieta to the mound while Pittsburgh will start Gerrit Cole. These two teams know each other very well.
Should you bet on the Cubs or back the Pirates? Arrieta or Cole? Which of these two squads will continue their quest for the World Series?
A Closer Look At How To Bet The Chicago Cubs Vs Pittsburgh 2015 National League Wildcard Game
What: Chicago Cubs Vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Pitching: Jake Arrieta -R (22-6, 1.77 ERA) Vs Gerrit Cole -R (19-8, 2.60 ERA)
When: Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
First Pitch: 8:08 PM ET
Where: Pittsburgh, PA
Run Line: Cubs (-1½ +140) vs Pirates (+1½ -160)
Money Line: Cubs (-128) vs Pirates (+118)
Game Total: 5.5
Listen: Chicago vs Pittsburgh
Why Bet on Chicago Cubs (-128) to Beat Pittsburgh (+118)
Jake Arrieta leads the majors in wins (21) and is second in ERA (1.82).
Arrieta is pretty much unhittable as it is. His ERA for the season ended up being 1.77. His WHIP was .86. The amazing numbers led to a 20 and 6 win-loss record. Arrieta is in the running for the NL CY Young Award along with the Dodgers’ Zach Greinke.
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) October 3, 2015
As amazing as Arrieta is versus every team in MLB, he’s even more amazing against the Pirates. The Pirates have faced Jake Arrieta 176 times. They have 31 hits. Arrieta’s given up only a single home run. He’s allowed 6 RBIs.
Arrieta has struck out 46 Pirate batters from 176 at-bats. That’s pretty good. What’s even crazier is that Arrieta has won 11 out of his last 12 starts. The other start was a no-decision. That’s how good the Chicago ace has been towards the end of the regular season. With his best stuff, Arrieta is pretty much unhittable.
Why Bet on Pittsburgh +118) to Beat Chicago Cubs (-128)
Gerrit Cole is third in the NL with 19 wins. He went 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 4 starts against the Cubs this season.
The Pirates fought hard to get into the playoffs. Their batters know that they are in tough facing Jake Arrieta, but don’t be fooled for a moment and think that the Pirates aren’t going to put their best foot forward in Wednesday’s game.
Pirates will start Gerrit Cole in NL wild card game. Cole: 19-8 in regular season; 2-1, 2.13 ERA in 4 starts vs. Cubs in 2015
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 3, 2015
Even more important is the fact that Arrieta has to face Andrew McCutchen. Cutch bats .348 against Arrieta. He has 8 hits from 23 at bats. He has an RBI off of Arrieta and Arrieta has walked him 3 times. If McCutchen can get it going, and one or two of the other batters can follow suit, the Pirates won’t be out of it on Wednesday.
But, pitcher Gerrit Cole hasn’t had much success shutting down the Cubs’ line-up. The Cubs bat .286 against Cole. Even if the Pirates have their bats going, that’s a big if, they have to rely on Cole to shut down Chicago’s offense. That’s not going to happen. My final score prediction is Chicago Cubs 5, Pittsburgh 2.