After an electric start to the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have gone 14-27 over the past month and a half to fall back into the pack. They’ll look to start another winning streak when they welcome the Chicago Cubs to PNC Park for a three-game set starting on Monday. First pitch of the series opener is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Cubs will send Drew Smyly (6-4, 3.59 ERA) to the mound, while the Pirates will counter with rookie Osvaldo Bido (0-0, 2.25).
The Cubs are -140 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Pirates are +120 underdogs. The total is set at 9.
Cubs-Pirates picks: Monday, June 19
Out: 3B Patrick Wisdom (right wrist sprain), RP Brad Boxberger (right forearm strain), RP Brandon Hughes (left knee inflammation)
Out: RP Jose Hernandez (right calf strain), RP Rob Zastryzny (left forearm inflammation), RP Colin Holderman (right wrist inflammation)
Drew Smyly vs. Osvaldo Bido
The 34-year-old Smyly has continued his career-long trend of being a solid, if unspectacular pitcher, as he boasts a 6-4 record with a 3.59 ERA in 77.2 innings this season. His high-water mark came in April, when he carried a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Dodgers. Smyly has struggled as of late, as he has a 5.09 ERA in three June starts, and is coming off a start against the Pirates where he allowed five runs in six innings last week.
After making his MLB debut against the Cubs last week, Bido will make his second career start in a Pirates rotation that’s suddenly leaking oil. Last time out, Bido only went four innings, but struck out six and only allowed one run. Bido’s earned a spot in the Pirates’ rotation after Roansy Contreras was moved to the bullpen.
When these two starters matched up last week, these two teams combined for 16 runs. That said, the Pirates haven’t cleared this over in their last four games, while the Cubs have scored nine or fewer runs in three of their last four games. I’m betting on today’s matchup to be a bit of a lower-scoring affair.
Pick: Under 9
I like the Pirates to pull off the slight upset. With top prospect Henry Davis on the way, the Pirates should have some good vibes going for tonight’s game. That, coupled with Smyly’s June struggles, should help Pittsburgh come out on top tonight.