This game could be low scoring as Gerrit Cole (19-8, 2.60 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates go up against Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs (97-65) in Game 1 of the Wild Card Elimination Game at PNC Park. The Cubs enter this series on an eight-game winning streak. The game gets underway at 8:08 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 7 and will air on TBS.
In his most recent outing, Cole pitched 7.0 innings, allowing two runs and striking out two in an 8-2 victory over the Cardinals. Pedro Alvarez (.243, 60 Rs, 27 HRs, 77 RBIs, 2 SBs) went 1 for 3 Sunday with one run, one home run, and one RBI. The Cubs were also victorious the last time Arrieta pitched. He pitched well, going 6.0 innings, allowing zero runs and striking out seven in a 6-1 victory over the Brewers. Anthony Rizzo (.278, 94 Rs, 31 HRs, 101 RBIs, 17 SBs) went 1 for 4 Sunday with two RBIs.
Pittsburgh, a +115 underdog, will look to capitalize at home against Chicago. The matchup currently has a five-run Over/Under (O/U). When playing as the underdog, the Pirates have a 20-26 record and overall money line at +2,146. They have not performed well against their division, earning a SU record of 34-42 and an 8-18 record when they were the underdog. The Pirates will be looking to pick it up in this one after recent offensive struggles. In the last 10 games, Pittsburgh has only averaged 3.2 runs per game compared to the 4.3 it's averaged on the season. Whenever an NL Central opponent shows up on the calendar, the Pirates seem to struggle with pitching. They allow an average of 3.7 runs per game, but allow 4.2 against teams from their own division. They have been extremely effective at striking opposing batters out, averaging 8.3 strikeouts per game.
Across the field, the Cubs have a nice record of 72-38 when they are favored and are +1,757 overall with the money line. They have played at the top of their game when rated as favorite recently. They managed an 8-1 record when playing as the favorite and a SU record of 8-2. Chicago has an eye for the strike zone, averaging an NL-best 3.5 walks per game. Chicago's pitching staff has allowed an average of 1.6 runs per game during the last 10 games, lower than their season average of 3.8. They have a WHIP of 1.15 on the year, the best in the league. The Chicago pitching staff has been an intimidating group this year, averaging an NL-best 8.8 strikeouts per game.
The Cubs have gotten the better of the Pirates in head-to-head matchups this season, going 11-8.
Predictions: SU Winner - ChC, O/U - Over
The Cubs hold a 46-30 record in matchups against NL Central Division rivals, while the Pirates currently sit at 34-42 in these games.
When leading after 7 innings, Chicago is 38-26, while Pittsburgh is 38-36.
The Cubs are coming into this game after allowing two walks during their last outing. The Pirates have a 34-40 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
When they outhit their opponents, the Cubs are 67-9. The Pirates have a 70-7 record when outhitting opponents.
Pittsburgh and Chicago both rank in the top half of the league in runs. Pittsburgh sits at 11th with 697 runs this season and Chicago ranks 15th with 689.
Ranking 17th, Pittsburgh is in the bottom half of the league in walks, notching 461 this season. Chicago ranks in the top five at second with 567.
The Pirates are 65-28 when they hit at least one home run. The Cubs perform similarly when they hit one or more homers with a 68-28 record.