In: MLB Free Picks11 Apr 2011
Two pitchers in desperate need of a good performance will go head to head tonight in Houston, as the Chicago Cubs take on the Houston Astros. Ryan Dempster has started two games for the Cubs this season, and in the 13 innings he’s pitched, he’s allowed 10 earned runs. In Nelson Figueroa’s only start so far, he lasted just five innings and gave up six earned runs to the Reds.
For the first time in years, the Cubs look like they might be able to score some runs this season. They are in the Top 10 for the MLB in batting average and on-base percentage, and they’ve scored at least three runs per game this season, with the lone exception of the shutout in Milwaukee Saturday night. Despite the improved batting numbers, the Cubs have still lost three of their last four games. With Dempster on the mound tonight, it’s likely they’ll need their bats to get the job done tonight.
The O/U on this game is at 8.5, and if the game history so far this season tells us anything, it points to there being at least that many scored tonight – especially in Houston. Figueroa was shelled in his first outing against the red-hot Reds. The Cubs certainly don’t have the pop the Reds do, but Aramis Ramirez is coming off of a big game, and he’s traditionally been a streaky hitter, so Figueroa could be in for another long outing.
Houston hasn’t shown much power yet this season. The Astros are near the bottom of the Major Leagues with only four homers so far this season. Comparatively, the Yankees and Rangers lead all of baseball with 18. The Cubs power numbers are only slightly better, but for the Cubs it’s a vast improvement. I expect the Cubs to look like a juggernaut tonight against the woeful Figueroa.
I just hope Dempster can hold it together long enough for the Cubs to get enough of a lead to coast to another win, and put the team at .500 on the season.
Pick: Take the Chicago Cubs (-125)