MLB Action on Friday Afternoon

MLB Action on Friday AfternoonAn afternoon baseball matchup pits two NL Central rivals against each other MLB action on Friday will see the Pittsburgh Pirates duke it out with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in game one of their three-game series. The Pirates have really gotten off to a slow start this year, while the Cubs come in off an emotional series against the Dodgers. The Over is 9-2 the last 11 games in this series. Pitching Probables: Gerrit Cole vs Kyle Hendricks.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have gotten off to a slow start and while their offense has really struggled so far, their pitching has not helped out at all. The Starting staff comes in with a 4.22 ERA on the year, which is bad, but their pen ERA of 5.68 is one of the worst in the league. They just don’t have a strong pen and that will haunt them as the season goes on, especially their middle relief as Wade Leblanc (6.35 ERA), Trevor Williams, 6.75 ERA), Antonio Bastardo (20.25), have all struggled in the early going. They really need the pen to step up, especially since their offense has been one of the worst in the league so far. Toeing the rubber for the Pirates will be Gerrit Cole, who is making his 3rd start of the year and has gone 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in his first two starts. He has allowed eight ERs on 15 hits and three walks in 11 innings in those two starts. Last year, he was 7-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 21 starts, including 5-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 10 starts on the road. Cole has gone 18-12 with a 3.39 ERA in 37 career day starts, while against the Cubs in his career he has gone 8-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 11 starts, including 6-1 with a 2.21 ERA in seven starts here at Wrigley Field.

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World Series champs have been set as +160 moneyline underdogs. Underachieving ace Gerrit Cole will go head-to-head with Kyle Hendricks in the matchup as the two righties look to put forgettable starts to the 2017 season behind them.

The Pirates have lost 4 consecutive games coming into this matchup.

Gerrit Cole had a 5.48 ERA in his 9 starts after the all-star break last season.

Kyle Hendricks was 3-0 with a 0.47 ERA in his 3 starts against the Pirates in 2016.

With a 9-2 record and an ERA of 1.32 in 14 home starts in the Cubs’ World Series-winning season, Kyle Hendricks was one of the best home-field pitchers in all of baseball and he’s a serious contender for the NL Cy Young Award in 2017.

Scoring stats point to some edges in this matchup. The game features the Chicago Cubs No. 17-ranked scoring average of 4.11 runs per game, against a Pittsburgh Pirates offense rated No. 28 and scoring 3.11 runs per game. The Cubs have averaged 8.44 hits per game to date this season, more than the Pirates hitters have managed (7.67 per nine innings).

Defensively, Pittsburgh features the No. 11-rated defense on the road, allowing 4 runs per game. Chicago, meanwhile, comes in at No. 27 at home, scoring 2.33 runs per game. Get in the MLB Action on Friday afternoon at