WE ARE BACK and with several guests. I join the writers at clocker sports and we discuss all things Chicago on today’s episode.
Baseball is back and back with a vengeance. We already have our first canceled games for the week due to COVID and the Miami Marlins. But they are not the concern of this article. I want to break down these first five games and usually, I would be bombarded with “iT iS OnLy FivE GaMEs in”. Well, SpongeBob meme, that is nearly 10 percent of our season this time around. The Chicago Cubs are off to a 4-1 start and atop the NL Central. Although 4-1 is a great start, there is always something to improve on and with this Cubs team, there certainly is.
Good, Bad, Ugly: The Cubs Hot Start
The bats are “woke”; as the children like to say. Even though they are only hitting .250 as a team, good for third in the National League, the ball still jumps off of the bat. They are first in the NL with 10 home runs as a team. Chicago’s 31 runs scored is also good for first among NL opponents.
Another good thing about this Cubs team is the starting pitching. National League Player of the Week Kyle Hendricks takes the bump Wednesday against the Reds after going the distance against the Milwaukee Brewers in the opener. In 29 innings of work, the starting rotation has given up six runs. Half of those were by Yu Darvish who will be in the latter portion of this reading.
Right now, the Cubs offense is just putting up runs. If you can’t hang with six runs a game then you will not be beating them on a consistent basis.
Free-agent acquisitions Jason Kipnis and Steven Souza Jr have stepped into their roles nicely and have been playing well above expectations so far. Kipnis is hitting .375 and has brought a nice presence to the plate with that left-handed swing. Souza has gotten limited playing time but hit a very nice double down the line the other night to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in Cincinnati.
There really isn’t a lot of holes to poke in a 4-1 start but there is always something extra you would like to see happening. For the Cubs, that is Kris Bryant who has been placed in the leadoff spot and has a measly slash line of .059/.158/.059; not good by any means. The bright spot for Bryant in this spot is the number of pitches he sees in each at-bat. He really sets the table for Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, and Willson Contreras to drive in the runs.
Darvish is supposed to be one of our go-to starters. Unfortunately for Darvish, his style of pitching does not cater to efficiency. His stuff is downright filthy but very erratic and he could only get through four innings in his debut and gave up three earned runs. This is the Cubs only loss of the season so far and it comes from one their least likely suspects.
Usually, throughout a 162-game season, I would be patient with these slow starts. But October is right around the corner and the Cubs need these two in prime form if they want a chance to win another title because this is the Cubs “Last Dance”.
Let’s be frank, we all know what this section is all about. The bullpen is a joke. Craig Kimbrel nearly blew the save the other night and put his teammate Jeremy Jeffress in quite the predicament. Thankfully, Jeffress shut the door. A former Brewer, Jeffress is coming off of his worst season ever in Milwaukee and is looking to bounce back. Being put in a bases-loaded situation with only one out and nursing a one-run lead is not a recipe for success.
The bullpen has pitched 16 innings (out of 45) and given up 15 runs; all earned. Kimbrel looks like a shell of his former self and can’t locate a pitch. He looked flustered on the mound and had no answers to get himself out of that situation. The Cubs have a lot of work to do for a 4-1 team. This ugly portion will rear its ugly head in October because the Cubs will not be averaging six runs a game all season.
The Cubs First Five Games
There is “a lot” of baseball to be played and I am beyond excited. I will touch back with you guys in between the 15 to 20-game mark to see where this team is and if their October chances improve or not. When I say chances in October, I am talking about how the team could do in the postseason in terms of winning a title, not just making it to the postseason.
We are finally here! One quarantine, and a lifetime later we have arrived at the official opening day of the MLB season. If you are new around here, we like to make money. We have a couple of writers that love to live their life on the lines. Yes, we gamble responsibly around here so if you are not in a good position to do this please refrain. But if you want to make some extra cash this season. This is a prime opportunity for you to join me in that process. We will be tracking my bets throughout the season and we will see how much I make you.
Listed below will be my picks for the day. If you are interested in some long term plays. I advise you to check out Tony Guzman’s article on his MLB Preview. If you are new to sports betting, I will be using the term units a lot. A unit is a measurement of money in which one gambles (increments of $10 or $100 dollars).
So let’s pretend we have a $100 bankroll (yes I know that is small) and let’s see how much we can make you this year.
Life on the Lines
Atlanta Braves @ New York Mets
First game of the day is the Braves visiting the Mets. On the mound, we have Mike Soroka vs Jacob deGrom. Degrom is the reigning two-time CY Young Winner, and Soroka will be the youngest Brave to start and opening day. In these types of matchups, I try to avoid the run line. Which in this game is has the Mets at -1.5, But i am not going to throw an obnoxious set of numbers you to convince you. The play here is the Under 8 line. It is going to be an absolute pitchers duel in the Flushings. Soroka led the league in road ERA last season at 1.55 so all signs point to it being a 3-2 kind of game.
Take the under 8 total runs at -120
(Bet 12 dollars to win 10 dollars)
Detroit Tigers @ Cincinnati Reds
In the second matchup, we have the Detroit Tigers visiting the newly revamped Cincinnati Reds. Lefty Matthew Boyd enters into a hitters paradise in Cinci. Not only that he is running into one of the best lineups in the league. The Reds have added Nicholas Castellanos who mashed left-handed pitching last season. If you look at Castellanos stats from Detroit they do not impress many people. Once you add him to Wrigley, however, his average jumps nearly 50 points. The Reds have done a lot of reforming this offseason while the Tigers have only added Jonathan Schoop and drafted Spencer Torkelson. The play here is to take the Reds at -1.5 (+105). Cincinnati is going to want to make a statement and on opening day they get the perfect opportunity to do so.
Reds -1.5 (+105)
(Bet 10 to make 10.50)
Toronto Blue Jays @ Tampa Bay Rays
This next pick may seem a little about hype instead of numbers. Although I do love the numbers sometimes you just have a gut instinct about a team. Well, the Toronto Blue Jays are that team for me. Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays are a legitimate playoff team with a better line up and maybe better overall pitching staff. But if it is for one game? I am going to take the Blue Jays. I love this young core. Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio are all legitimate threats to explode onto the scene this year. I expect them to show out on opening day especially with their big free-agent acquisition on the hill, Hyun-Jin Riu. I am taking the Blue Jays Money Line on this pick.
Blue Jays ML +118
(Bet 10$ to win 11.80$)
Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs
Next, we head to beautiful Wrigley Field. Where the Cubs play host to the Brewers. Both teams in the offseason were pretty stagnant in terms of adding talent to each club. The Brewers lost Moustakas (to the Reds) but get their MVP back from a gruesome knee injury. In his debut against the potent White Sox. Kyle Hendricks was in prime form and tossed four shutout innings before being taken out for rest reasons. I expect nothing less from him in his opening day debut. I like the Cubs here at -1.5. Especially at a great value of +170. The ball will be flying and it will be for the boys in Cubbie blue.
Cubs -1.5 (+170)
(10$ to make 17$)
Minnesota Twins @ Chicago White Sox
And for the final pick, we are traveling to the Southside of Chicago. Where the White Sox play host to the Minnesota Twins. I am expecting a fireworks show and have the Twins beating the rising Sox by more than three runs, but be on the lookout for this White Sox team in the future. They will have the matchup advantage in a lot of games because play in the woeful central division. They will get chances against the Tigers and Royals throughout the season. But on this opening day. The team that smacked 307 Homers last season is the Twins at -1.5 (+140).
Twins -1.5 (+140)
(10$ to make 14$)
Life on the Lines
Those are my five picks and these are odds are according to Bovada. If you do not have a Bovada account. Click the link below and get an introductory match of up to 250 dollars on your initial deposit. Let me know how your picks go.
Make sure you follow me on Twitter @illiniryan7 and go follow me on Instagram @illiniryan_7 for exclusive giveaways.
Hope this helps you make some money this season. Use the link below for Bovada:
Best of luck!
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