The Chicago Cubs close out their series with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, 8/22/18 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.
Heading to Game 3 on Tuesday, the Cubs lead the overall season series 2-0. But the Cubs have lost their last two games after winning three in a row. On the other hand, the Tigers have won just once in their last five games.
Chicago has good news and bad news entering this game. The good news is that the Cubs have acquired infielder Daniel Murphy from the Washington Nationals. The Nationals’ playoff odds are dwindling and decided to cash in on one of its trade chips. Andruw Monasterio, an infield prospect, will be heading to Washington along with cash and a player to be named later in the week.
The bad news for the Cubs is that they have shut down pitching ace Yu Darvish for the rest of the season. Darvish has started just 8 games in his first season with the Cubs after dealing with injuries to his right elbow and triceps.
The Cubs are coming off a series where their offense was struggling, to say the least. In their four games series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pirates scored just one run in each game. The interesting thing though is that they won two out of those four games as their pitching staff held the Pirates scoreless in the first two games.
The addition of Daniel Murphy should help the Cubs’ offensive woes. The 33 year old second baseman is batting .300 for the season with a slugging percentage of .442 and an on base percentage of .341. Given Kris Bryant’s shoulder injury, the Cubs will likely play Javier Baez at third base and Murphy at second base. The Cubs’ infield depth should cut some of Murphy’s minutes but he looks to be a good addition for the Cubs at this stage of the season.
The Cubs will start pitching ace John Lester for this Wednesday contest. The left hander has started a total of 25 games this season and has a record of 13-5 with an ERA of 3.72 and a WHIP of 1.32. Lester’s 13 wins ranks 5th in the National League this season while his win percentage of .720 is third best in the National League.
In his last outing, Lester was impressive against division rivals Pittsburgh last Thursday. He got the win after tossing six scoreless innings while allowing just five hits while fanning eight batters. Good as he has been this season, that win was Lester’s first since July 15 as he had losses in his previous three decisions.
Chicago Cubs vs Detroit Tigers 8/22/18
Odds: Cubs -185, Tigers +174
Odds from Betonline.ag as of 8/21/18
While the Cubs had struggling driving home runs in their recent series, the Detroit Tigers have been scoring runs here and there as of late. Heading to this series, the Tigers have averaged 5.4 runs per nine innings in their last 10 games. Despite that, the Tigers still found themselves losers in six of their last 10 games because their pitching staff has allowed a 5.07 ERA in those games.
Detroit suffered two close 5-4 defeats to the Twins in their previous series. They went 1-3 in Minnesota last week after beating the Twins 2-1 at home two series earlier. The Tigers’ pitching staff has had an up and down season really and ay 51-74, the Tigers are only in third place in the American League Central.
Left hander Francisco Liriano will get the start for the Tigers on Wednesday. The 34 year old native of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic has a total of 19 starts this season. His current record is 3-8 with and ERA of 4.72 and a WHIP of 1.51. Liriano ranks 7th in the American League in walks with 58.
Liriano got the loss in his last start, with the Tigers losing to the Minnesota Twins 8-15 last Thursday, 8/16/18. In that game, he gave up eight runs on five hits including 2 home runs in just 1.2 innings pitched. Liriano has given up a total of 13 runs on 16 hits with 4 home runs in his last three starts, all of which were losses for him.
The Detroit Tigers are 8-22 in their last 22 games against teams with a winning record and have just one win in their last six interleague home games against left handed starters. On the other hand, the Chicago Cubs have lost just once in their last 8 road games and are 9-3 in their last 12 interleague road games.
You’ve got to be worried about how the Chicago offense has played as of late. But when you take a look at the pitching matchup for this game, there’s no way you’re picking the Tigers with Liriano against John Lester. Lester has had a great season and has just broken out of a slump. Liriano hasn’t looked comfortable on the mound this month and hasn’t been as exceptional this season.
We’re picking the Chicago Cubs to beat the Detroit Tigers on 8/22/18.