TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18TH
974 CHICAGO with Hendricks (-123) over Minnesota with Hill at 8:15 PM EST
Off four consecutive wins and holding on tightly to a 5.5-game advantage over the Reds in the NL Central standings, the Cubs will stay hot and pick up a huge win over a solid Twins squad. Minnesota checks in off a grueling four-game series against Chicago (White Sox) and this will be a tough encore for the Twinkies.
Taking the mound for the Northsider’s will be Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks. In three September starts versus the Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates, No. 28 was in a zone allowing only four earned runs and 19 hits in 21.2 innings of work. Hendricks struck out 17 and walked two on his way to a 2-0 tally with a brilliant 1.66 ERA. Pitching inside Wrigley Field has been outstanding for Kyle too. At home, Hendricks has surrendered nine earned runs and 27 hits in 35.2 frames. After the math, that adds up to a 3-2 record with a rock-solid 2.27 ERA.
Southpaw Rich Hill will hit the hump for the visitors. Matched up against the Indians, Tigers and White Sox in his last three starts, No. 44 was cranked for six earned runs and 13 hits in 13.1 innings. Hill whiffed 14 and walked six on his way to a 1-0 record and a 4.05 ERA. With six starts in the bank this season, Rich has been popped for 11 earned runs and 23 hits in 26.0 frames. That equates to a 2-1 mark with a 3.81 ERA.
Several team trends surround this money-making wager. Chicago has won eight of its last 10 at home in interleague play matched up against a left-handed starter, 20 of its last 27 in the first game of a series and 45 of its last 67 against American League opponents. On the other side of the grass, Minnesota has dropped 38 of its last 52 on the road against National League teams that own a team won/loss percentage greater than .500 and six of its last eight when priced as a road pup.
The Cubbies close with a four-game series on the road against the Pirates and three-game set against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Rest assured, the Northsider’s will flex their muscles in this three-game series against the Twins. Take Chicago with Hendricks. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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