Cubs vs. Diamondbacks MLB Pick – July 16, 2021

Cubs vs Diamondbacks Pick: Over 9 (-120)

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After a great week of All-Star festivities in Colorado, the MLB season gets back underway today.

We have a jam-packed evening of baseball going this evening, so let’s get in on the action with a Cubs vs. D-backs Pick from Arizona with expert MLB betting odds!

Cubs vs. D-backs Betting Odds

Odds
Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamondbacks

Moneyline Odds
-149
+134

Runline Odds
-1.5 (+105)
+1.5 (-125)

Over/Under
Over 9 (-120)
Under 9 (+100)

Cubs

We’ll see what type of effort we’ll get from these Cubs as the trade deadline approaches. General manager Jed Hoyer is already on record more or less confirming his club as a seller at the July 30 Trade Deadline as his club has fallen eight games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Nonetheless, they’ll begin their second half by taking on the D-backs with right-hander Kyle Hendricks going to start this one.

It’s been an even season for Hendricks by his standards. He struggled early and has largely rebounded since and sports a 3.77 ERA on the season. That said, he also owns a 4.93 xERA, 4.83 FIP, 4.35 xFIP and 4.43 SIERA, all of which are well above career norms for the 2016 NL Cy Young winner.

Even Hendricks’ usually solid ground-ball rate has sank to 40.7% this season which helps explain his 1.71 HR/9 that sits well above his 0.97 career mark.

He’s usually better at home than on the road, but hasn’t been the case this season as his ERA is slightly better on the road, but also his peripherals are notably superior on the road as well. That said, it’s worth noting at his 2.67 career ERA at home is more than a full run better than his 3.72 mark on the road, so we’ll see where those home/road splits take us in the second half.

It’s also worth noting that while it’s not a huge sample, Hendricks owns a 4.43 ERA over three starts spanning 20.1 innings in his career at Chase Field in Arizona.

He’s allowed more than three earned runs in a game just once over his last 11 starts, so he’ll look to continue his solid work of late into this one tonight.

Where Do They Go From Here?

While the Cubs could see some pitching move over the course of the next two weeks, the focus is going to be on the bats.

Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo are all free agents at the end of the season while the fourth member of their core-four offensive players Willson Contreras is set for free agency after the 2022 season.

It’s been an underwhelming performance as a team this season as the Cubs rank 18th with a .306 wOBA on the season and while they’ve showed some pop with an 11th-ranked .168 ISO the overall work is a far cry from where this team should be given the personnel on board.

MLB

They’ll face a lefty in this one to start, so it’s worth noting that the offense gets a boost against southpaw pitching. They’ve hit lefties for an increased .325 wOBA on the season, good for a share of 12th, but the .164 ISO is more or less the same as their work against righties.

Another note on this offense is the fact they’ve struggled on the road to the tune of a .289 wOBA, good for a share of 25th alongside the Baltimore Orioles while the power dips to a .150 ISO.

The core of the Cubs offense hits lefties extremely well, so we’ll see if they can start their second half off with a bang in this one tonight.

Regressing Relief

Prior to an 11-game losing streak that began in late June, the Cubs boasted the best bullpen in baseball as per their ERA. Since then, it’s been an outright disaster.

For the season, they have turned in a quality 3.40 ERA which is good enough for sixth league wide. That said, their 4.07 FIP and 4.08 xFIP do suggest some regression, and that group has regressed mightily of late.

Over the last 30 days, the Cubs’ bullpen sports a 5.29 ERA that sits in a tie for 23rd. Over the last two weeks, however, they rank dead last in all of baseball with a ghastly 8.45 ERA, more than 40 points worse than 29th-ranked Kansas City at 8.04. They also own a 7.31 FIP, 2.89 HR/9 and 5.15 BB/9 over the last 14 days, so this group is taking a licking at the moment.

As a result, the team has suffered and closer Craig Kimbrel will be one of the bigger names on the trading block as he’s been brilliant to the tune of a 0.57 ERA/1.11 FIP and 15.35 K/9 in his 31.2 frames this season.

D-backs

It’s been ugly in Arizona this season as the D-backs will enter tonight’s contest sporting the worst record in baseball at 26-66 while their -150 run differential is also the worst in the bigs as well.

That said, they’ll look to get a boost from a returning veteran tonight, although left-hander Madison Bumgarner hasn’t been effective since putting on D-backs uniform prior to the 2020 season.

After turning in a disastrous 6.48 ERA/7.18 FIP in nine starts last season, Bumgarner carries a 5.73 ERA through 12 starts this season, although his peripherals are more palatable with a 4.19 xERA, 4.47 FIP, 4.70 xFIP and 4.17 SIERA.

He’s been touched up to the tune of a 7.15 ERA at home this season, although his 4.36 FIP and 4.49 xFIP do suggest positive regression should be had at home moving forward.

We’ll see how he is able to pitch in this one as he has been out since early June with a shoulder issue. He’s dealt with injuries in each of his first two seasons with the D-backs and they certainly haven’t helped his cause.

He allowed at least five earned runs in each of his final three starts before hitting the IL, giving up 16 runs over just 12 innings in that time. Obviously, both player and team are looking for a better effort coming out of the break.

Lackluster Lumber

The D-backs seemingly had enough pieces to put together at least a decent if not solid offense this season, but that has not been the case as they have been among the worst groups in baseball this season.

Entering tonight’s contest, they’re tied with the Cardinals for 26th with a .297 wOBA on the season while they’ve hit for very little power as their .240 ISO checks in at 28th. Against righties such as Hendricks, they sit dead last with a .289 wOBA and .129 ISO, so they’ve certainly struggled to get much going against righties.

If there’s a silver lining to be had, it’s the fact they have hit better at home where Chase Field can turn into an extremely-hitter friendly venue if the roof is open. We’ll see as we get closer to game time whether or not they’ll open the roof, but the D-backs nonetheless improve to 21st with a .309 wOBA at home this season and the power gets a slight uptick with a .143 ISO.

One key member of the D-backs offense returning is Kole Calhoun who has missed more than two months with a hamstring injury. He was the club’s top bat last season against right-handed pitching and clearly he’s been dearly missed in that department here in the 2021 campaign.

Horrendous Hurling

I just noted how much regression the Cubs’ bullpen has endured of late, but this D-backs bullpen takes the cake when it comes to their ugly bullpen work of late, but pretty much for the season on the whole.

For the season, the D-backs’ bullpen has been the worst in baseball by way of both a 5.46 ERA and 4.90 FIP. They’ve yielded home runs at a 1.47 HR/9 clip — tied for 28th — while their 7.88 K/9 sits 29th.

That said, the work of late has been god awful. Over the last two weeks, they rank 26th with a 6.17 ERA, but over the last 30 days that ERA jumps all the way to a whopping 7.23 mark, good for dead last by a wide margin.

The results have simply been the worst in baseball for a lengthy period of time.

Cubs vs. D-backs MLB Pick

At first glance I liked the Cubs to win this one on the run line at solid +105 odds, but the more I dove into the numbers I’m looking towards the total and the over here.

Hendricks has been good of late, however he’s struggled against left-handed hitters on the road where he’s yielded a .309 average, .882 OPS and .377 wOBA in such situations to go along with a 4.38 FIP this season. The projected D-backs lineup has six of eight position players set to hit from the left side against him.

Pick: Over 9Odds: -120Place Your Bet Now!$100 Could Win You…$183.33

As for Arizona’s pitching situation, the struggling Bumgarner hasn’t pitched in more than five weeks. As a result, he won’t be going deep into this one and that will thrust the league’s worst bullpen into significant action. The fact Bryant, Baez and Conteras — among others — rake lefties, we could see damage against Bumgarner and certainly this D-backs ‘pen.

Add in a mightily struggling Cubs bullpen that’s been the worst in baseball of late and a D-backs group that’s been the worst over the last 30 days and I can see the offense winning out in this one tonight, so give me the Over 9 at -120 courtesy of the information from Betus.com!

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