Chicago Cubs (+121) at Cleveland Indians (-131, 7.5 o/u)
Cleveland sports fans have had a rough week. First, their Cavaliers lost the NBA Title; then their Indians (30-34, 12-19 Home) got absolutely hammered 17-0 by the Chicago Cubs (35-28, 17-15 Away) on Wednesday Night. The Indians will try to put that dismal performance behind them tonight as they host the Cubs in the second of two at Progressive Field (7:10 PM Eastern).
Last night’s loss fell on starter Shaun Marcum, who gave up six hits and six earned in just two innings of work. Cubs rookie phenom Kris Bryant had a grand slam and catcher Kyle Schwarber was 4 for 5 on the night. Bryant extended his hitting streak to 13 games; he’s the only player in the Majors with multiple hit streaks of at least 12 games this season.
Despite the scoreline, the Cleveland bullpen wasn’t terrible – aside from Nick Hagadone, who was touched up for three runs in the third inning while failing to record an out. The embarrassing scoreline was a result of the Cubs adding seven runs in the ninth as position players Ryan Raburn and David Murphy finished the game on the mound for the Indians.
Tonight should see a more competitive, lower scoring game as Cleveland sends promising youngster Danny Salazar (6-2, 3.54 ERA) to the mound against Jason Hammel (5-2, 2.81). Salazar was decent last time out, but not spectacular, giving up seven hits and three runs in seven innings of work against the Tigers. The Indians hitters didn’t do him any favors, though, as Cleveland was shutout 4-0.
For the Cubs, Hammel has been solid all season. The 32-year-old righty has two wins and a no-decision in his last three starts, though he did give up seven hits and four runs in just five innings of work against the Reds in his last start (though only two of the runs were earned).
After Wednesday’s humiliation, the Indians lineup needs bounce back. But the Cubs are currently at +121 with Hammel on the mound and the Indians are a dreadful 12-19 at home. Even though Salazar has been a stud for Cleveland this year, the Cubs at +121 is better value than the Indians at -131.
Pick: Cubs (+121).
(Photo credit: bengrey on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)