The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates will kick off a four-game series on Monday night at Wrigley Field. This game will kick off the final week of the 2018 Major League Baseball season for both teams. The Cubs are still looking to clinch their playoff berth, while the Pirates will be trying to play the role of spoiler.
The Chicago Cubs enter this series with a 2.5 game lead in the National League Central Division. The Cubs magic number is down to just five games to clinch the division championship over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pittsburgh Pirates were in the playoff race before the All-Star Break, but have fallen of the pace in the second half of the season. The Chicago Cubs are -170 over the Pirates in the season opener.
Baez Making MVP Push
Chicago Cubs All-Star Javier Baez is making a strong case for the MVP Award in the National League this season. Baez leads the entire National League with 110 runs batted in and is second in home runs with his 34 blasts. Baez has been the offensive star for a Cubs team that ranks near the top of the league in total offense.
Left-handed starting pitcher Cole Hamels will make the start for the Chicago Cubs on Monday night. Hamels has been terrific for the Cubs since being traded to Chicago from Texas in late July. The veteran is 4-1 with a 2.42 earned run average since joining the Cubs and has had success against the Pirates since the trade. He is 2-0 against the Pirates giving up zero earned runs in twelve innings pitched through two starts.
Taillon Starting For Pirates
Hard-throwing right-hander Jameson Taillon will make the start for the Pirates on Monday night. Taillon has had a solid season for Pittsburgh, going 13-9 with a 3.24 earned run average through 30 starts this season. He has won his last four decisions dating back to August 19th and should give the Pirates a chance to win this game.
Gregory Polanco has led the Pirates offense during the 2018 season. Polanco leads the team with 23 home runs and 81 runs batted in for a team that ranks in the bottom third of the league in total runs scored. Josh Bell and Starling Marte have also provided consistent offense for the Pirates this season, but their lineup lacks depth needed to be a playoff contender.
Cubs Win Series Opener
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been reduced to a spoiler role this season and were able to beat the Milwaukee Brewers in a game over the weekend. The Pirates will try to do the same against the Chicago Cubs with their ace on the mound in this game.
The Cubs want to clinch a playoff berth as soon as possible to give their regulars some rest before the 2018 playoffs begin. Look for Cole Hamels to continue to be great for the Cubs on Monday night in earning the victory. Bet the Chicago Cubs -170 over the Pirates in this game.