By: Jay Patel (@jpatel2444)
Money Line: MIA (+152) CHC (-164)
Run Line: MIA (+1.5) CHC (-1.5)
First Pitch: 2:00 PM CT, Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
It’s time for postseason baseball on the north side. The Chicago Cubs host the Miami Marlins in the Wild Card round. Chicago comes back into the postseason after not making it last season, while Miami hasn’t made it since 2003. This should be an entertaining series with several good pitching matchups.
The 31-29 Marlins had to overcome a serious COVID-19 outbreak. Several roster moves were made to combat the decimation of the roster, however, Miami finished 2nd in the NL East. They have solid starting pitching in Sandy Alcantara (today’s starter), Sixto Sanchez, and Pablo Lopez. Bullpen arms including ex-Cub Brandon Kintzler (2.22 ERA) and Yimi Garcia (0.60 ERA) have been terrific for Miami this season. Miami’s pitching will be key this series as Cubs bats have struggled as of late. They ranked 21st in team ERA, so pitching will be vital for Miami.
Who else but The Professor to start off the Cubs postseason? Kyle Hendricks has been a stable cog for Chicago’s postseason pitching. He has a 2.98 ERA in 11 postseason games. Additionally, he finished with a solid 2.88 ERA on the season. The Cubs bullpen has also picked it up after a dismal start. With Jeremy Jeffress, Craig Kimbrel, and Jose Quintana, the Cubs bullpen should be a strength this series.
All eyes will be on the offense. They struggled mightily in September. Kris Bryant picked it up against the White Sox, and hopefully he can heat up in this series. Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and Ian Happ are also key players to watch this series. If the Cubs can manage to score runs, then the pitching can carry.
Prediction and Best Bet
I think this series will be more fun than people think. The youth of Miami’s pitching against the experienced, battle-tested Chicago Cubs. I like Miami’s pitching, and with the inconsistency of the Cubs offense, today could be a close game. However, I like Chicago’s experience and clutch hitting in today’s game. I’m taking the Cubs on the money line at -164 for one unit. Chicago opens their postseason run with a dub.