Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
|Houston Astros (33-32) +115, o/u 8 at Chicago Cubs (26-37), 8 p.m. Eastern, WGN
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff
The Houston Astros look to continue their recent good play when they take on the Chicago Cubs in the middle game of a three-game set Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
The Astros won the opener of this series 9-2 Tuesday night.
Houston has won six of its last seven games to pull above .500 and climb into third place in the NL Central, 6 games back of division-leading St. Louis.
Tuesdays loss broke a 3-game Chicago winning streak. The Cubs sit in fifth place in the NL Central, six games behind the Astros and 12 games out of first place.
Houston is just 10-18 on the road this season, but 12-9 as underdogs.
Chicago is 12-15 at home this year, just 14-15 as favorites.
Astros starter Oswalt (5-3, 3.11) is making his first start since coming off the DL with a strained left side/back injury. Oswalt hasnt pitched since May 29, but he was pretty good just before that, allowing just 4 ER in his last 19 1/3 IP.
In three starts vs. the Cubs last year, Oswalt gave up 10 ER and 29 H+W in 18 IP.
Houston is 6-6 in Oswalts starts this year, the over/under 6-5.
Cubs starter Maddux (7-5, 4.68) has allowed 11 ER and 22 H+W in his last 16 IP. Maddux is 4-0 with a 2.01 ERA at Wrigley Field this year, but just 2-5 with a 7.21 ERA in his last eight starts overall.
In four starts vs. the Astros last year, Maddux allowed 12 ER and 32 H+W in 26 innings of work.
The Cubs are 7-6 in Madduxs starts this year, the o/u 7-6.
Houston owns a .334 team OBP this year, 9th-best in the NL, and averages 4.7 runs per game.
The Cubs rank last in the NL with their .310 team OPB and average 4.0 RPG. And since losing 1B Derrek Lee to a wrist injury 49 games ago, Chicago is scoring just 3.7 RPG.
The Astros have won three of four games vs. the Cubs this season, but Chicago won the season series with Houston last year 9 games to 7. The o/u in those most recent 20 games is 7-13.
The Astros bullpen has allowed 3 ER and 13 H+W in its last 10 2/3 IP.
The Cubs pen has given up 12 ER and 29 H+W in its last 17 1/3 innings of work.
Houston 3B Morgan Ensberg is listed as doubtful for Wednesdays game with a shoulder injury.
The o/u is 30-30 in Astros games this year, 30-32 in Cubs games and 12-15 at Wrigley Field.
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The Ultimatecapper Pick: As a general rule of thumb, we always like to go vs. a guy coming off the DL. We also like the fact that Maddux has dominated at Wrigley this year. Take the Cubbies small.