First pitch: 8:15 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Tyler Mahle (1-1, 3.90 ERA) vs. Alec Mills (3-3, 5.50 ERA)
Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs Predictions
Feels like this game flashes a lower-than-anticipated total, doesn’t it? And in the era of the universal designated hitter to boot.
First of all, as highlighted many times before, there’s no more significant wind factor in sports than for games at Wrigley Field, which constantly sees severely skewered over/unders based on the ferocity — or lack thereof — of the wind.
With 18 mph gusts expected to be blowing in within the Friendly Confines for tonight’s series opener between the Cubs and Reds, we have a deflated total to work with as a result — and one that is pretty telling to what the linesmakers are fearing.
A pitching matchup like this one with two non-household names rarely gets an over/under this low. Even with the heavy winds to help keep the baseball in the yard, an encounter between such starters would normally garner a higher total in Chicago.
But here, there’s a clear awareness in the ascension of Tyler Mahle. The fourth-year right-hander has prior supplied plenty of flashes being a frontline-type pitcher and it looks like he’s putting it all together now.
In his last two assignments, Mahle notched a pair of quality starts, including one that saw him pitch effectively into the seventh and rack up a season-high 11 strikeouts against this same opponent.
It was another nice showing for Mahle this year when squaring off with the Cubs, as he also limited them to just two runs across four innings in his season debut. He’s evidently always been consistent in these rivalry meetings, as Mahle is 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in seven career starts opposite Chicago while shackling their hitters to a .212 average.
So, I like Mahle to continue his emergence and provide a solid effort tonight, especially with the assistance of those mighty Wrigley winds. This will also come into play for the other probable, Alec Mills, and perhaps even considerably more so.
Like his counterpart, Mills has exhibited flashes of what he can be at the Major League level. Home runs are holding him back, however, as he’s already yielded eight in just 37.2 frames. Mills served up five taters last year in the same workload.
For this assignment, though, he gets the benefit of a monstrous boost in the form of the Windy City’s signature weather. Mills has been Jekyll and Hyde this year, sometimes lasting into the seventh and others not getting through the fourth, but he’s in an opportune spot for a good start.
Key longtime Reds batters Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto and Jesse Winker are a combined 3-for-25 (.120) when tangling with the Cubs righty. That success in the past combined with the Wrigley conditions will help allow Mills to be game and hang.
MLB Leans - September 8
MIN/STL Under 7 (Game 2)
TB/WAS Over 9.5
2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 11-30-4, -22.99 units
Yesterday’s Result: Tigers-Twins Under 9 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit