The Chicago Cubs are regressing to the mean, now seven games under .500, but were able to grind out a 1-0 win in the series opener against Tampa Bay Rays. Can the Cubbies follow it up with another win?
Kyle Hendricks struggled in his first start of the year after starting the season on the injured list, but can the Cubs offense find a way to putting runs on AL Cy Young contender Shane McClanahan?
Here are the odds for Wednesday's matchup in Chicago:
Rays vs. Cubs odds, run line and total
Rays vs. Cubs prediction and pick
This appears like a mismatch, but the Cubs are well suited to hit McClanahan. Chicago hits lefties as well as any team in baseball, top five in OPS against southpaws. Meanwhile, McClanahan enters fresh off two straight sterling outings in which he allowed a combined one earned run over 14 innings, but his underlying metrics continue to show concern moving forward.
The Rays ace has a Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) of 3.33, which is more than one run higher than his 1.97 ERA, indicating that he has benefitted from some positive variance in the field. Against an elite hitting team like the Cubs against lefties, this could be a good time to sell high on McClanahan.
On the other side, Hendricks is far from his Cy Young self, battling injuries and diminished control, but the Rays offense also isn't as hot as it was to start the year, 13th in batting average over the past two weeks. With a limited sample on Hendricks, can he outperform expectations?
I'll take a stab at the big home underdog on Tuesday night.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.