New York Mets (52-55) at Chicago White Sox (46-59), 2:10 p.m. ET
Zack Wheeler (7-6, 4.71 ERA) (NYM) -185 / -1.5 runs (-120) / Over 9.5 runs (-110)
Dylan Cease (1-3, 6.86 ERA) (CHW) +165 / +1.5 runs (EVEN) / Under 9.5 runs (-110)
The first two games of this interleague series have been fairly low scoring, but Over bettors should prevail in the finale Thursday afternoon.
Zack Wheeler will start for New York, and unfortunately for him, he’s made as many starts during the day as he has at night this year. Wheeler owns a 5.88 ERA in day games this season compared to a 3.62 ERA in nighttime tilts. His strikeout/walk ratio shrinks from 6.00 in night games to 2.81 in the afternoon. Wheeler, who briefly visited the IL for shoulder fatigue in July, produced a 5.94 ERA in three starts last month.
Dylan Cease will counter for Chicago, and his first four big league starts have left plenty to be desired. Cease sports a 1.619 WHIP and 1.75 strikeout/walk ratio in his debut season. He’s backed by a bullpen that is only marginally better than the Mets’ over the last 30 days (4.38 ERA compared to 5.26).
Chicago Cubs (57-50) at St. Louis Cardinals (57-50), 7:15 p.m. ET, MLB Network
Jon Lester (9-6, 3.63 ERA) (CHC) EVEN / +1.5 runs (-200) / Over 8.5 runs (-105)
Jack Flaherty (4-6, 4.17 ERA) (STL) -110 / -1.5 runs (+165) / Under 8.5 runs (-115)
Bettors should expect the Cardinals to take sole possession of first place over the Cubs on Thursday night at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis will send Jack Flaherty to the hill, and he’s a force to be reckoned with at home this season, with a 3.20 ERA in 11 starts. His opponent batting average at Busch is .197, in stark contrast to his .272 opponent batting average in road games this year (5.44 road ERA in 10 starts). July was Flaherty’s best month by far this season, as he had a 2.48 ERA in five outings.
Jon Lester will toe the rubber for Chicago, and his road splits in 2019 are disconcerting. His ERA jumps from 2.95 in 11 efforts at Wrigley Field to 4.42 in nine starts elsewhere. Lester’s strikeout/walk ratio plummets from 9.00 at home to 2.47 as the visitor. Special attention must be paid to red-hot Redbirds first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (.414 average, five home runs in his last seven games), who is 7-for-14 all-time against Lester, with a 1.303 OPS.