Chicago (Arrieta) +102 at St. Louis (Martinez) O/U 8
Here’s the quote from Cubs manager Joe Maddon following Chicago’s blowout win in St Louis last night: “We're definitely arriving at the same mental level we've had the last two seasons. The guys have been there, done that. They know what it's about.” That’s a pretty strong ‘bet-on’ quote for a team priced as underdogs tonight, with a chance to clinch the NL Central title on their biggest rival’s home field with a victory here.
The betting markets are doing what they do – overvaluing the starting pitching matchup at the expense of all other factors. And there’s not much love for Jake Arrieta in the markets right now. Arrieta was sharp in his first start back from a stint on the DL, throwing five innings of one run ball in Milwaukee. Maddon, following that start: “I didn't know what to expect. I thought (Arrieta) was really sharp. I was really surprised at how good he looked.” Chicago’s bullpen behind him is as good as any in baseball, and it’s a fresh pen, working only three innings over the past two days.
The Cubs might not even need a gem from Arrieta to win here if their lineup continues to click. Chicago hung ten runs on St Louis last night, pounding out 86 runs during an 11-2 hot streak over the past two weeks. They beat up Carlos Martinez when they saw him in Chicago less than two weeks ago, and Martinez struggled again in his last outing, giving up a pair of homers in Cinci. The Cardinals aren’t playing good ball, losers of three straight in ‘must win’ situations after dropping a pair to slumping Pittsburgh over the weekend. Wrong team favored here. Take the Cubs.