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Matt Zylbert breaks down Cubs vs. Giants on Saturday and gives us his pick

MLB Picks & Predictions - June 5

Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants

Over/Under: 7.5

First pitch: 7:15 p.m. ET

TV: FOX (in some geographic areas)

Probable pitchers: Kohl Stewart (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (6-0, 1.40 ERA)

Cubs vs. Giants Prediction

Those already crowning Jacob deGrom as this year’s National League Cy Young are making a mistake disregarding Gausman.

San Francisco’s staff ace has showcased every bit of dominance seen on the other side of the country from deGrom. After all, he’s posted top-five numbers amongst all Major League starters in ERA (1.40) and WHIP (0.81), not to mention Gausman is top 10 in strikeouts (83) and batting average against (.163), too. Dominance.

This masterpiece of a season up to this point is simply a continuation of what Gausman was doing a year ago, when he notched career-best marks in WHIP (1.11), BAA (.221) and strikeout rate (11.92 K/9). Now the 30-year-old has been so good that he’s on pace to shatter two of those. His first-ever All-Star nod appears likely.

Gausman has shown this potential before, so it’s not all that surprising to see him finally put it all together and harness his talents to finally become a legit top-of-the-rotation pitcher. He’s clearly lived up to that billing, yielding one or zero runs in all but one (!) of his 11 assignments. In fact, if you take out his one off outing in which he gave up five runs, Gausman would have a close-to-deGrom 0.84 ERA.

Of course, the challenging aspect of this bet is deciphering the other starter in this FOX affair, Stewart. He is, after all, making just his eighth career big-league start — and only his second of the season after not even appearing in last year’s pandemic-shortened 60-game campaign.

Stewart, a former No. 4 overall draft pick in 2013, only debuted three seasons ago but didn’t really show much in his two years as a Minnesota Twin. However, he suddenly resurfaced with the Cubs on Memorial Day with a gem at the expense of a tough San Diego Padres lineup, whom he kept off the scoreboard for five innings.

To me, that’s notable and indicates perhaps Stewart is transforming into a capable starter at this level. The strikeouts still weren’t there in that team and season debut last Monday, garnering only two punch-outs, but prior to being called up, he did record 9.41 K/9 in four Triple-A starts, his highest strikeout rate at any stage of his professional career.

Working at pitcher-friendly Oracle Park can be a boon for any starter as well. The Giants batting order is damaged right now, missing at lest two key regulars, and I think that’s something that can make Stewart useful in helping determine a bet.

MLB Picks

Pick: UNDER 7.5 @ -115

MLB Leans

Marlins-Pirates Under 8

Twins-Royals Under 9

Dodgers-Braves Over 8

Red Sox-Yankees Over 9

Mets-Padres Under 6

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “32-28-3,” +0.26 unit

Yesterday’s Result: Marlins-Pirates Under 8 (loss)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


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