MLB Regular Season
Matchup: Detroit Tigers at Chicago Cubs
Date/Time: August 19, 8:00 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.24) vs. Jon Lester (8-8, 3.21)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: Chicago -195
Night games at Wrigley Field seem to be pretty rare, but that’s the schedule for a second straight night as the interleague series between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs continues. Daniel Norris will take the hill for the Tigers against Jon Lester for the Cubs. As a result, the Cubs are a big favorite, but overnight betting movement shows some support in the market for the underdog.
Everybody keeps making it a point to mention that the Tigers are just 4.5 games out of the wild card, but the more important figure is that there are four teams ahead of them that they would need to jump. With a patchwork rotation in which Justin Verlander has been the best pitcher of late, the chances of the Tigers suddenly getting hot are pretty slim. The Cubs, meanwhile, are in the driver’s seat for their playoff lives with a three-game lead over the San Francisco Giants. Most of that is due to Chicago’s four-game sweep of San Francisco a couple weeks ago.
Daniel Norris will take the ball for the fourth time for his new team and ninth time in the Major Leagues this season. Norris has shown better control this time around, but the command is about the same. On the whole this season, Norris owns a 4.24 ERA with a 4.67 FIP and a 5.15 xFIP. He’s a fly ball pitcher that has always fought with command in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system. Norris was acquired in the David Price trade that signaled the waving of a white flag for the Tigers. That trade got Dave Dombrowski released from his contract, but Dombrowski became part of the Boston Red Sox organization late Tuesday night.
With Norris, the potential has always been there, but he hasn’t missed a whole lot of bats this season at any level. He pitched at four different levels for Toronto last season, including the Major Leagues, and dealt with some shoulder discomfort that seems to have carried over a bit to this season. He’s pitched 131 innings between Triple-A and the Majors, but the stuff hasn’t been as dynamic. The Cubs have dropped to 16th in MLB in offensive performance against lefties by wOBA. The Cubs also strike out the most of any team against southpaws, but they also have the league’s fourth-highest walk rate.
Jon Lester has been excellent for the Cubs of late and these are the types of games that the Cubs acquired him for. The Cubs are a big favorite to win this one, but the Tigers still have a dangerous lineup and recently got Miguel Cabrera back in the middle of the order. Lester was victimized by some bad batted ball luck and some sequencing problems in April, when he posted a 6.23 ERA, but he has been very strong since. Lester owns a 2.04 ERA with a .214/.261/.288 slash against in 35.1 innings since the All-Star Break.
The Tigers have been a solid offense against lefties throughout the season, which should come as no surprise with some of their quality right-handed bats. They are fifth in wOBA at .337. Lester was roughed up by the Tigers the one time he faced them earlier this season with five runs allowed on nine hits in just 4.1 innings. There seems to be some segments of the betting market that will go against quality NL pitchers against AL opponents, but with this game in Chicago, the Tigers are still down a hitter and that hitter will be Victor Martinez, who owns a .347/.400/.458 slash against lefties during his injury-plagued 2015 season.
MLB Prediction: Chicago Cubs
It’s hard to advocate laying the price against a lineup like the Tigers, but this is a pretty good matchup for the Cubs. Daniel Norris doesn’t have the explosive stuff capable of racking up strikeouts this season, but he still has shaky control and that’s something that the Cubs can take advantage of on Tuesday night. Looking at the Cubs on the run line may be the way to go with this one since Lester has been throwing the ball very well and the Tigers also have some bullpen issues.