Pirates v Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers will earn a road win at Pittsburgh against the Pirates on Wednesday. Sadly, Pittsburgh’s starter James McDonald can get out of his second-half slump. Since the All-Star game he’s posted a 7.08 ERA and his last outing, against a very poor Chicago Cubs team, didn’t suggest he’s getting any better. In that contest, he pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, four runs and, most troubling, four walks in the loss. He’s only had two quality starts (six or more innings pitched; three or fewer earned runs allowed) in his past seven appearances (and both of those were against the same team – the St. Louis Cardinals). The Brewers pitcher, Marco Estrada has been throwing much better recently. He’s won three of his past four decisions and looked great against the Pirates on September 1, striking out ten batters, giving up just one run in seven innings. Go with the Brewers at 1.55, not the Pirates at 2.05.
Cubs v Reds
Homer Bailey should lead the Cincinnati Reds to a win against the lowly Chicago Cubs. Bailey has been on good form lately. In his past five starts he’s posted a 2.91 ERA (in his past two he’s been even better, registering a 1.98 ERA). In addition, he’s won both of his starts this season at Wrigley Field. The Cubs will counter with Chris Rusin, who is 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA. Even if Rusin can deliver a decent performance it probably won’t matter as he’s limited to about 80 pitches. That means Chicago’s bullpen will be required to contribute. That’s not so good as the Cubs relief corps is third-worst (out of sixteen teams) in the National League. The right bet is the Reds at 1.65 rather than the Cubs at 2.10.