One of the important components of successful baseball handicapping is figuring out when to step in with a team in what is otherwise a money losing situation for them. We think we’ve got one tonight as the Chicago Cubs try to hang on to the second wild card spot in the National League as they continue a four game series out West against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
The Cubs have put up a decent record so far this season going 77-66 trailing the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central by 4 games. Their undoing has been their dismal play on the road. At home, the Cubs are 47-24 with a profit of +11.4 units. On the road, they’re 29-42 with a -15.5 unit loss. They did get a win in last night’s series opener and we like the setup for them to get another victory tonight.
The San Diego Padres are going nowhere. They’re 66-77 on the year and trail the first place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West by a whopping 26 games. They can at least console themselves with the fact that they’re 6.5 games up on the last place Colorado Rockies who are in freefall at the moment having lost 9 of 10. The Padres have nearly identical–and not particularly impressive–records at home and on the road. At home, they’re 33-39 and have lost a ton of money. They’ve come close to breaking even on the road (-0.2 units) but have been bludgeoned at home to the tune of 33-39 -15.1 units. They’ve lost a ton of money at night (-12.5 units) and against left handed pitchers where they’re 11-19 -8.8 units averaging just 3.7 runs per game. Their recent offensive form is even more pitiful–in their last 7 games they’re averaging just 2.6 runs per contest.
The Cubs will start lefthander Jose Quintana who hasn’t put up particularly impressive numbers this year but the Cubs have scrapped out a small profit in his road starts going 7-6 +0.6 units. Quintana has never lost to the Padres with a 3-0 career record. San Diego will counter with righthander Ronald Bolanos who looked sharp in his first career start going 6 innings allowing just 2 earned runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 3. He held the D-Bax to only 5 hits but got no help from his teammates in a 2-1 loss.
Cubs are just the better team and should approach this contest with a fair degree of urgency given their tenuous hold on the final National League wildcard spot.