The Texas Rangers travel to Wrigley Field on Saturday to take on the Chicago Cubs.
The Texas Rangers have been doing well to begin the season so far. They are tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the lead in the AL West with a 4-3 record after a 2-0 road loss to begin this series. Left-hander Martin Perez will be getting the start here and is coming off a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies as he threw 5.2 innings and allowed one run on eight hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
The Chicago Cubs have been doing a decent job so far this season and are third in the NL Central with a 3-3 record, winning two straight games. Southpaw Justin Steele will be on the mound and did not factor into the decision as he gave up no runs on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in six innings of work.
Texas Rangers vs. Chicago Cubs: Betting Odds
|Texas Rangers||+1.5 (-210)||Over 7 (-120)||+100|
|Chicago Cubs||-1.5 (+180)||Under 7 (+100)||-120|
Odds Courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
The Texas Rangers have been a middle-of-the-pack offensive team heading into this game. They are currently 17th with a .705 team OPS while averaging 5.14 runs per game up to this point. The Rangers have been a little too aggressive at the plate. Through their first seven games, the Rangers are averaging 18 walks at the plate or 2.57 walks per game thus far. Third baseman Josh Jung has been doing very well at the plate and has a .269/.321/.538 slashline with two homers, four RBI and five runs scored thus far.
Martin Perez has not faced the Cubs since the 2016 season, so instead of diving into that game seven years ago, we will look at how he fares against interleague opponents. In 41 career games against National League opponents, he is 13-12 with a 4.13 ERA in 218 innings on the mound. He has proven to be able to limit the production against an intriguing Chicago Cubs lineup going into this game against an unfamiliar foe.
The Chicago Cubs are at the same spot as the Rangers offensively, are 16th in the entire sport with a .710 team OPS, and are scoring five runs per game so far. They have a noticeable lack of power and are tied with the Washington Nationals for the fewest amount of home runs hit, as they have four total homers as a team. Left fielder Ian Happ has been doing well to begin his contract year and has a 1.256 OPS with one home run, three RBI, six runs scored and a 7:8 walk-to-strikeout ratio up to this point.
Justin Steele will be on the mound and does not have a large resume at the MLB level, but he will look to dominate against a decent Texas Rangers lineup. Steele has only faced off against American League opponents five times in his career and is 1-2 with a 4.02 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 15.2 innings of work. Chicago is struggling a bit with their bullpen as they are 20th with a 4.57 reliever ERA, so they need to step up here in order to win games.
Fixture: Texas Rangers @ Chicago Cubs
Date & Time: Saturday, April 8, 4:05 p.m. EDT
Venue: Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL
Texas Rangers vs. Chicago Cubs: Betting Prediction
The Chicago Cubs have been a good team, and these offenses have been doing an average job throughout the season thus far. Martin Perez is pitching more to contact over his career, while Justin Steele pitches well at home as he had a 2.78 home ERA last season and did not allow any runs in his first start of the year at Wrigley Field. Looking at the batting average of balls in play, Texas is 18th at .291, while Chicago is up at seventh with a .323 team batting average. The Cubs have won five of their previous six home games against the Rangers, so go with the Chicago Cubs to win this game as well.