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Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Chicago Cubs (56-50) at St. Louis Cardinals (57-49)

MLB: Wednesday, July 31th, 2019 at 8:15 pm ET (Busch Stadium)

Line and Odds: Chicago Cubs -112/St. Louis Cardinals +102 Over/Under: 8.5

Free MLB Picks St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs

Chicago entered the series tied for 1st place in the NL Central along with the St. Louis Cardinals. While the Cubs have had a solid season so far, they've been a much different team on the road than they have been at home. Chicago is 36-18 at home, but 20-32 on the road. In the series opener, Chicago lost a 2-1 pitching duel on the road against the rival Cardinals. In order to walk out of St. Louis with an NL Central lead, they must win the next 2 games at St. Louis.

The Chicago Cubs are strong, but not elite, offensively. Chicago puts up 5.05 runs per game, ranking 12th in run production. They rank 7th in on-base plus slugging percentage with an OPS of .782. 3B Kris Bryant, C Wilson Contreras, and 1B Anthony Rizzo have led the way for the Cubs' bats, each registering an OPS of .900+. The Cubs have an on-base percentage of .332, ranking 9th-best in baseball. This number is partially driven by the number of walks the Cubs' batting lineup has been able to draw. Chicago ranks 4th in walk percentage, getting walked on 9.8% of their plate appearances. When it comes to hitting for average, the Cubs are slightly above-average. They rank 14th with a batting average of .252 and 13th with a batting average of balls in play of .298. The Cubs batters excel in the power department. They rank 8th in both slugging percentage (.451) and isolated power (.199). Also, they hit home runs on 4.1% of their plate appearances, ranking 7th in home run percentage.

While the Cubs are good at scoring runs, they are even better at preventing them. Chicago gives up 4.37 runs per game, ranking 6th in runs allowed. Opponents acquire 13.88 total bases per game, ranking 8th in total bases allowed. They rank 9th in opponents' OPS, allowing opposing batters an OPS of .732. The Cubs defense ranks 10th in both opponents batting average (.247), and opponents' BABIP (.293). Cubs' pitchers know how to effectively limit their opponents' power. They allow home runs on just 3.2% of their opponents' plate appearances. Chicago ranks 8th in opponents' slugging percentage (.412) and opponents' extra base hit percentage (7.9%). Kyle Hendricks gets the call as today's starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Hendricks has been the 2nd best starter for Chicago, behind only Cole Hamels. He has compiled a 3.26 ERA, a 1.129 WHIP, and a 4.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Hendricks gives up 1.0 home runs, 8.2 hits, and 3.81 runs per 9 innings.

St. Louis

St. Louis is hoping the pattern of Cubs-Cardinals games established this season will continue in this series. The home team has won all 10 games of this head-to-head matchup. The Cubs swept the Cardinals twice at Wrigley Field, while the Cardinals swept the Cubs at Busch Stadium. St. Louis opened up this 3 game homestand with a 2-1 victory over Chicago, yesterday. A sweep of the Cubs in this series would do St. Louis some good as they entered the series tied for the NL Central lead. Whoever wins this series will hold the Central lead, at least for a little while.

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