pirates cubs mlb picksIn the third of a four-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates (6-8) and the Chicago Cubs (6-8) at PNC Park, Vance Worley (1-1, 5.84 ERA) and Jason Hammel (1-0, 5.11 ERA) get the start. The Cubs won the last game 9-8 and Chicago leads the series 2-0. The game gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Apr. 22 and will air on CSN-CHI and ROOT-PIT.

In his most recent outing, Worley pitched 6.0 innings, giving up two runs, striking out six and walking four in a 6-3 victory over the Brewers. Starling Marte (.208, 9 Rs, 5 HRs, 12 RBIs, 2 SBs) continued his hot start yesterday, going 2 for 3 with three runs, one home run, and two RBIs. In his pitching opportunities against the Pirates, Hammel is 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA. He meets a struggling Pittsburgh offense that's batting just .220. Anthony Rizzo (.302, 10 Rs, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 SBs) has been hitting the ball well to start the season for the Cubs, going 2 for 4 yesterday with two runs.

Pittsburgh is favored by a small -113 margin in its matchup against Chicago. The teams combine to set the Over/Under (O/U) at seven runs. The Pirates are 4-4 as the favorite and have an overall money line of -170. They have an SU record of 5-5 against teams in their division and a 3-2 record when they were the favorite in those games. The Pirates seem to play better against their division opponents, averaging 4.3 runs per game, well over their season average of 3.7. Transitioning to the pitching staff, an area where the Pirates are particularly strong is striking batters out, where they average 8.6 K's per game.

Moving on to the away team, the Cubs come into this game with a solid win percentage of .750 when playing as the underdog (3-1) and an overall money line of +105. They have played at the top of their game when rated as the underdog as of late. They managed a 3-1 record when playing as the underdog and an SU record of 6-4. The Cubs seem to play worse against their division opponents. In divisional matchups, Chicago has averaged 3.5 runs per game, compared to 4.2 for the duration of the season. The Cubs have racked up 15 steals on the year, making them the most threatening base-running team in the league. Chicago's pitching staff tends to perform well when they play division rivals. They've allowed an average of 2.3 runs per game against teams from the NL Central, lower than their season average of 3.8. They also allow just 1.9 walks per game, good for second in the NL. The Chicago pitching staff has been an intimidating group this year, averaging 8.5 strikeouts per game.

The previous two games have all gone Chicago's way. The Pirates will take on a right-hander (Hammel) in this game and have a 6-7 record against right-handed starting pitchers this season. The right-handed Worley will take the mound against the Cubs, who have a 7-4 record against righty starters this season.

Predictions: SU Winner - CHC, O/U - Over

Notes

The Cubs sit at 5-2 against their divisional rivals, while the Pirates are 5-6.

For the second time this season, the Pirates registered at least two errors in a game.

The Cubs are 3-0 in games that go into extra innings. Meanwhile, the Pirates are 0-1 in such matchups.

The Cubs managed to give up four walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Pirates who are heading in with a 2-2 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.

When they are outhit, the Pirates are 0-6. The Cubs have a 3-5 record when opponents outhit them.

Chicago ranks in the top half of the league at 11th when it comes to home runs, hitting 13 this season. Pittsburgh ranks in the top 10 at seventh with 15.

Ranking 14th, Pittsburgh is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 6.92 per game. Chicago ranks in the top 10 at seventh with 8.08.

Ranking 23rd, Pittsburgh is near the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.637). Chicago ranks in the top 10 at 10th with an OPS of .722.

The Cubs are 4-3 in games where they allow one or more home runs. The Pirates are 2-6 when they allow at least one homer.