This game could be low scoring as Jake Arrieta (20-6, 1.88 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs (89-65) meet A.J. Burnett (9-5, 3.15 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (95-60) in the last of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. The Pirates won the last game 4-0, extending an eight-game winning streak. The game starts at 8:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sep. 27 and will air on ESPN.
In his last start, Arrieta pitched 9.0 innings, allowing zero runs, striking out 11 and walking one in a 4-0 victory over the Brewers. Kris Bryant (.280, 86 Rs, 26 HRs, 98 RBIs, 13 SBs) played well again yesterday, going 2 for 3. The Pirates were also victorious the last time Burnett pitched. He had a good outing, pitching 5.2 innings, giving up two runs (one unearned), striking out five and walking four in a 9-3 victory over the Rockies. Andrew McCutchen (.293, 88 Rs, 22 HRs, 95 RBIs, 10 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday.
Chicago is a considerable -220 favorite at home and the Over/Under (O/U) for this matchup is presently unavailable. The Cubs perform well as a favorite with a 64-38 record and have an overall money line of +957. They have performed well against their division to earn an SU record of 39-30 and a 26-15 record when they were the favorite. The Cubs typically don't swing at bad pitches, which has led to an NL-high 3.7 walks per home game. As for the pitching staff, the Cubs don't allow many hitters to get on base, leading the league with a 1.18 WHIP. The have been extremely effective at striking opposing batters out, leading the NL with 8.8 strikeouts per game.
Moving on to the away team, the Pirates come into this game with a win percentage of .444 when playing as the underdog (20-25) and an overall money line of +2,396. Against divisional opponents, they are 31-38 SU and have played poorly as the underdog with an 8-17 record. Pittsburgh has been playing better lately, averaging 5.5 runs per game, more than their season average of 4.4. Pittsburgh's pitching staff tends to perform poorly when they play division rivals. They've allowed an average of 4.2 runs per game against teams from the NL Central, higher than their season average of 3.7. They also have some of the most overpowering arms in the NL with an average of 8.2 strikeouts per game.
The Cubs have gotten the best of the Pirates in head-to-head matchups this season, going 10-8. This game will feature Burnett (RHP) on the mound against the Cubs, who have a 71-51 record when they take on a right-handed starter. The right-handed Arrieta will take the mound against the Pirates. Against righty starters this season, they've racked up an impressive 77-46 record.
Predictions: SU Winner - ChC
The Cubs are 39-30 against their divisional rivals, while the Pirates are 31-38 against their division.
When leading after 7 innings, Chicago is 36-26, while Pittsburgh is 37-33.
The Pirates are coming off of a hot pitching game where they recorded nine strikeouts. The Cubs have a record of 49-39 when they are struck out that many times or more.
When they are outhit, the Cubs are 17-46. The Pirates have a 19-46 record when opponents outhit them.
Pittsburgh ranks near the bottom of the league at 22nd when it comes to home runs, hitting 135 this season. Chicago ranks in the top 10 at 10th with 166.
Ranking 15th, Chicago is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.26 per game. Pittsburgh ranks in the top five at third with 9.16.
Chicago and Pittsburgh both rank in the bottom half of the league for their on-base plus slugging percentage. Chicago sits at 17th with an OPS of .722 and Pittsburgh ranks 16th with an OPS of .725.
When the Pirates allow at least one home run, they are 40-36. When the Cubs allow one or more homers, they have a 42-42 record.