Ryan Dempster is still a member of the Chicago Cubs as of Tuesday morning, and if that is still the case after 4:00 ET, then look for yet another nice performance when he faces A.J. Burnett and the Pirates. Take the Cubs Tuesday.
Ryan Dempster is probably the most sought after pitcher as the Major League Baseball trading deadline looms today at 4:00 ET, and if he remain a Cub, look for the home team to prevail when A.J. Burnett and the Pittsburgh Pirates (58-44 overall, 25-28 away) take on Dempster and the Chicago Cubs (43-58 overall, 27-22 home) on Tuesday night as the teams play the second game of a three-game series from Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL at 8:05 ET.MLB Pick
The money line at Pinnacle Sports has the Cubs as tiny favorites for this contest at current odds of -107.
Now we always advocated placing MLB wagers with “Listed Pitchers”, and that is extremely important in this case because this entire selection is predicated on Dempster taking this start. Also note that Dempster has veto power over any trade, so if he is still a Cub after today’s 4:00 ET trading deadline, it would be because he wants to be in Chicago, which would also bode well for his performance.
Dempster is certainly having a great year while pitching for a team that is in fifth place in the National League Central and 17½ games behind the Cincinnati Reds, while the upstart Pirates are in second place and only three games out. That was not apparent in the series opener last night though as the Cubs routed the Pirates 14-4, thanks to a nine-run fifth inning.
The reason for all the interest in Dempster is obvious, as the Cubs are not going anywhere anytime soon and Dempster may have the most deceptive 5-5 record you will ever see, as he is second in the Major League behind Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants with his 2.25 ERA, and that is to go along with a 1.04 WHIP and allowing opposing batters to hit only .210 over 104 innings.
Add in that Dempster recently had a streak of 33 consecutive scoreless innings snapped and that he has allowed more than three runs in a game just four times in 16 starts this season including allowing more than four runs only once, and it becomes apparent that Dempster has been one of the best pitchers in the National League despite his 5-5 mark.
He has faced the Pirates twice this season, and those starts are a microcosm of how his season has gone as he is 0-2 despite allowing only four runs on 12 hits plus one walk in 13.1 innings, translating to a 2.70 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, with 12 strikeouts. However, the Cubs are hitting much better lately as they are averaging 6.75 runs over that last four games, so he figures to get some run support tonight.
Now by no means are we overlooking Burnett in this game, as he is a shocking 12-3 after struggling mightily with the New York Yankees the last few years, and he is currently the most profitable pitcher in the Major Leagues, with the Pirates going 15-3, +13.66 in games that he has started.
However, much of Burnett’s success has come as an underdog and he actually seems overvalued here with this game close to a Pick vs. a pitcher of Dempster’s caliber on the road. Besides, Burnett has not been nearly as effective on the road, as he has a bloated 5.70 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in eight starts away from home, with all three of his defeats coming while traveling.
Thus, assuming Dempster is still wearing a Cubs’ uniform, Chicago gets the call as cheap home chalk on Tuesday.
: Cubs -107