Tag Archives: Yu Darvish

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Chicago Cubs Hot Start

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 Good:

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.

The Bad:

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”.

The Ugly:

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.

2020 MLB Season Betting Preview

Baseball is back! Not the way everyone expected but it’s back nonetheless. A 60-game sprint to the playoffs in the Major League Baseball season is anything but ordinary and offers some intriguing opportunities from the betting perspective. Of course, there’s the chalk World Series matchup that MLB is hoping for in the New York Yankees vs Los Angeles Dodgers; with both teams being the favorite to win their respective leagues. There is just no value in betting those two teams.

Plus, that’s just boring no one likes betting the favorites right? It also makes sense that the two best teams would have favorites in individual awards such as Gerrit Cole at the top to win the AL Cy Young Award and Mookie Betts to win the NL MVP award. If there was ever a season to bet against the favorites who added new powerhouses to their rosters, this is it.

Betting Preview: 2020 MLB Season

Over/Under Best Bet The Chicago Cubs O/U 32.5 -108

The Chicago Cubs are going to be in a dog fight in the NL Central as there are three other teams vying for the top spot with the Milwaukee Brewers, rival St. Louis Cardinals, and emerging Cincinnati Reds. There are so many question marks going into this season for the Northsiders beginning with their starting pitching.

Kyle Hendricks was just handed the opening day starter duties by newly appointed manager David Ross who is entering his first season managing the team. He is the only bright spot in the rotation. Yu Darvish who has electric stuff has been as inconsistent as it gets in his Cubs tenure. Jose Quintana lacerated his thumb doing the dishes. Jon Lester who is on the back end of his career and Tyler Chatwood who wouldn’t be a starter on any other ball club.

They haven’t fixed their bullpen issues which have always been an issue in the Theo Epstein era and the glue who holds everything together, Anthony Rizzo has a lingering back issue. FiveThirtyEight came out with their predictions on this upcoming season and have the Cubs right at 32. How accurate is FiveThirtyEight? Last year they had them pegged for 84 wins. How many wins did the Cubs have in 2019? 84.

Bet- Under 32.5 wins at -108

American League Cy Young Award Winner Best Bet Shohei Ohtani 50-1

Shohei Ohtani wasn’t slated to start pitching until May since he is coming off of Tommy John surgery. Now that its late July he’s ready to be the two-way player the Angels had hoped for since signing him back in 2018.

Ohtani is an intriguing pick as he hasn’t pitched in the majors in over two years so there isn’t a lot of film on him which puts him at an advantage to opposing hitters. With the odds at 50-1 according to BetRivers.com, it’s just too hard to pass up as this future screams value.

Bet- Shohei Ohtani AL Cy Young Award Winner 50-1

National League Cy Young Award Winner Stephen Strasburg 12-1

The last time we saw Stephen Strasburg he was dominating the Houston Asterisks in Game 6 of the 2019 World Series. Shockingly enough Strasburg does not have a Cy Young award on his mantle. Last season, Strasburg lead the National League in wins (18) and was second in strikeouts (251) to the reigning NL Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom.

Unlike deGrom, he won a World Series and was the World Series MVP. Strasburg has had at least 10 strikeouts per nine innings in each of his last six seasons; a model of consistency. With the Nationals contending for back to back rings in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, if Strasburg is his dominant self this could be the year he earns that Cy Young Award.

Bet- Stephen Strasburg NL Cy Young Award Winner 12-1

National League MVP Award Winner Juan Soto 10-1

At this point, you’re starting to sense a theme here as to where this article is going in the National League. Juan Soto is just so far beyond his years as disciplined at the plate as the fire that exudes through his body. With Anthony Rendon signing a big free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Angels, there is no doubt that this is Soto’s team now from an offensive perspective. With an on-base percentage over .400 last year, not only does he hit bombs but is patient at the plate as he takes his walks. Soto is primed for a monster year, even if it’s only 60 games.

Bet- Juan Soto NL MVP Award Winner 10-1

American League MVP Award Winner Bo Bichette 100-1

The Toronto Blue Jays are in the news because they can’t find a ballpark to call home for this 60 game season since the Canadian government did not approve the use of the Rogers Centre in Toronto. There have been talks about maybe PNC Park as a temporary home for them this season which would benefit their young hitters greatly. But, no one is talking about this young core!

It’s mind-boggling that Vladimir Gurrerro Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette aren’t getting the respect they deserve. Vlad Jr. is at 50-1 to win the MVP which is insane value for the caliber of player he is. BetRivers.com doesn’t even have Biggio listed as an option (which is a shame) and Bo Bichette at 100-1! Bichette played in only 46 games last year and had a slash line of .311/.358/.571 with an OPS of .930 and 18 extra-base hits. It’s a long shot but you can’t help but take a stab at it.

Bet- Bo Bichette AL MVP Award Winner 100-1

World Series Champion Washington Nationals 19-1

That’s right, the Washington Nationals. When was the last time a National League team won back to back World Series? Not since the Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds, in 1975-1976. In fact, there hasn’t been a back to back World Series winner since the Yankees won three in a row from ’98-’00. The Nats have the firepower in their starting pitching and the experience now that they have been to a World Series just last season. Juan Soto is a potential MVP who is just easy to root for when you watch him play as a natural leader who wears his heart on his sleeve. This is already an odd season and it hasn’t even started yet. So, prepare for unexpected outcomes.

Bet- Washington Nationals World Series Champions 19-1

*All odds according to il.betrivers.com