July 8, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)
Take Chicago Cubs (-115) on the Money Line against St. Louis Cardinals risking 3% of the bankroll.
(Hammel and Wacha must start for wager to have action)
The Chicago Cubs have an opportunity to make a legitimate statement as they look to take a series against their NL Central rivals and division leaders, the St Louis Cardinals! Let's not forget that Cardinals are the very team the Cubs are chasing in the standings! A win tonight would be crucial as it pulls them a full game back and playing in such a tough division like NL Central, they need to take full advantage of Wrigley Field and their passionate support.
The Cubs also have a chance to do something that they have not done in years and that is being 10 games above the .500 mark with a victory. For the first time in decades, the Cubs don’t have that losing culture they have been used to; they have actually been winning. This is a club that has been the proverbial punching bag of the league for years where there has not been much expected of them. The fans have thoroughly showed their support for the Cubbies this season and now actually 'expect' good performances. The city has rallied around this team and that has rubbed off on the players as well. This is a team that is playing with great confidence at the moment and knows that they can go out and compete with the best the league has to offer. Joe Maddon has done a wonderful job already in changing the perception of this team and allowing players to develop their full potential. The Cubs have won many close games and extra-inning games this season so they have shown 'winning mentality' under their new coach's leadership There is no doubt the crowd will be buzzing at Wrigley tonight and the players will use that to their advantage.
The Cubs will send veteran Jason Hammel to the mound tonight. He has been one of the league's very best pitchers this season but because he doesn't necessarily have the ' big name' that many of his other top counterparts do he has often been undervalued. His WHIP is less than 1 and ranks among the top 5 for MLB pitchers! He is currently having his best season has held righties to a .196 batting average and a .228 on-base percentage this season! Interestingly enough, the Cardinals have quite a few right handed batters in their lineup tonight.
Michael Wacha will get the start for St Louis tonight. Wacha is best known for recent years' post season heroics; however he has not pitched nearly as well as the games he has been living off in the past. Hamell has pitched just as well as Wacha this season and yet one has a 5-4 record while the other is 10-3 and we feel that this is skewing the public's perception. Hammel has racked up 104 strikeouts compared to just 18 walks this season and has a 1.73 ERA at Wrigley Field in his last 6 home starts! We believe he will produce another quality outing tonight and lead his team to a victory. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo have troubled big in the past. Castro is a career .500 hitter against him in 14 at-bats! He's also made a habit of giving Cubbies 'walk-off' wins this season and wouldn't be surprised if another happened tonight!
The Cardinals are coming off deflating double-header which saw them lose both games to the Cubs yesterday. We don't believe their heads will be entirely into this game tonight since they travel to Pittsburgh tomorrow to play the Pittsburgh Pirates who are the team that is directly chasing the Cardinals for the division lead! Meanwhile the Cubs will have the day off tomorrow, which means that their sole focus will be tonight and winning the series matchup.
The Cards are also dealing with a number of injuries and have had to make some interesting moves in their lineup tonight. Matt Carpenter is playing at 2B tonight instead of 3B, Tommy Pham is starting at CF and Kolten Wong isn't listed in their lineup either. There is also the fatigue factor that needs to be taken into consideration having played in a double-header yesterday. The Cubs no doubt have healthier roster and that will certainly help in a situation like such as this.
This is a chance for Cubs to make a statement to the watching world that they are a legitimate contender this season. We still don't feel that they're being given respect due to previous year failures which honestly have little to do with this current group or manager for that matter. We feel the Cubs have the most to gain from a win here and will enjoy numerous advantages in this contest. Riding the momentum they built yesterday in the double-header, look for Joe Maddon's ambitious roster to get the W and take what wil be a very satisfying series win.
Other notable facts to consider:
- St. Louis has lost 6 of its last 9 games.
- Chicago Cubs are 4-1 in their last 5 games.
- The home side has won 10 of the last 13 matchups between these two franchises!
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