Sunday night’s rubber match has a pair of left-handed hurlers slated, with the Boston Red Sox’s Franklin Morales (0-1, 3.04 ERA) facing the Chicago Cubs' Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.91 ERA). Who are we backing tonight?
Joe Freda’s 2012 MLB Record: 25-22-1 (+2.47)
The Boston Red Sox edged out the Chicago Cubs with Saturday’s 4-3
victory, cashing as 145 road favorites to even the weekend set. Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia poked a
homer and double, while closer Alfredo Aceves logged his 16th save.
For tonight's matchup, baseball odds shops opened Morales as a 135 favorite, while first leaving the ‘total’ off the
Morales gets the start
Morales makes his first start here since 2009, shifting from the
bullpen in this spot due to Josh Beckett’s shoulder injury. The Venezuela native has held foes to a 0.82
WHIP in his stretch of nine appearances (11 IP) away from home.
Morales’ longest two stints this year came earlier this month,
holding the Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals scoreless over a
combined 7 1/3 innings. The June 3
outing in Toronto saw Morales toss a season-high four strikeouts, while giving
up two hits.
Maholm goes six at home
Maholm picked up a no-decision in Tuesday’s 4-3 victory for
Chicago as a 135 home dog against the Detroit Tigers. The 29-year-old allowed two runs in six
innings, while logging seven strikeouts.
Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney drove in three runs, poking a
double as part of his 1-for-3 night. Chicago’s Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair united to hit 0-for-8, leaving
seven men on base.
The contest’s seven runs dipped below the closing ‘total’ of
eight, bringing the UNDER to 3-1-1 in Maholm’s last five starts. Cubs relievers Carlos Marmol and Shawn Camp
notched their staff’s win and save, respectively, holding Detroit hitless in
the final 1 2/3 frames.
Back the Cubs as short
Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. (ET), with ESPN
providing the national television coverage. The evening’s weather forecast in Chicago calls for calmer winds than
the series’ first two matchups, with a temperature of 85 degrees.
I am adding the Cubs and Maholm to my MLB betting action for the
day, looking for the “North Siders” to come out on top in another tight
affair. Chicago has cashed at 4-1 in
Maholm’s last five outings as a home dog, with the hurler holding visitors to
nine earned runs over the span’s 31 1/3 innings.
Maholm faced the Red Sox last June while still a part of the
Pittsburgh Pirates’ rotation, allowing just one run in 5 1/3 frames. Boston’s Scott Podsednik has hit 4-for-8 over
the series’ first two games, but could cool off here, going 0-for-2 lifetime
against Maholm. Overall, I believe that Malhom is the better pitcher in this matchup on the mound.
Morales had a pair of subpar relief outings against the Cubs last
year, both with Boston and while still a part of the Colorado Rockies. The 26-year-old allowed two runs on five
hits, standing in for a combined 3 2/3 innings.
Chicago’s trio of Jeff Baker, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro all
have 1-for-2 career marks against Morales, uniting for three doubles and two
RBIs. Baker’s bat could stay a part of
the Cubs’ mix here after notching a 2-for-3 night in Saturday’s matchup against
Boston, including one double.
Look for the undervalued Cubs to bring in their share of runs here, sending
Morales off the field early while ending the series with a cashed ticket at
My Pick: Take the Cubs