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National League Central Clash: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

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Chicago southpaw Jon Lester has been phenomenal at Wrigley Field this season as evidenced by his 1.80 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in six starts.  Lester has also garnered a 2.04 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in fourteen career starts against the Cardinals.

Technically speaking, the Chicago Cubs are 22-6 in Lester’s last 28 home starts, 13-5 in Lester’s last 18 starts versus .501 or greater opposition, 10-4 in his last fourteen starts during game 2 of a series and 21-9 in his last thirty starts overall.

Lester’s surface statistics at home are fully supported by solid peripherals, including a 2.31 FIP and 3.28 xFIP. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ scuffling lineup is averaging just 3.4 runs per game versus left-handed starters (.289 OBP; .623 OPS), 3.8 runs per game versus division foes and 2.3 runs over the last seven games (.280 OBP; .660 OPS).  In contrast, the Cubs are averaging 5.7 runs per game in division play and 5.1 runs per game at home.

Lester is backed by a very good Chicago bullpen that owns a 3.18 ERA and 1.21 WHIP this season, including posting a 1.61 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in its last seven games.  St. Louis relievers enter today’s game with a 4.76 ERA and 1.45 WHIP on the road and an 8.66 ERA and 1.92 WHIP over their last seven games.

Technically speaking, the Cardinals are a money-burning 5-11 in their last sixteen games overall, 2-8 in their last ten road games versus teams with a winning home mark and 2-7 in Mike Leake’s last nine starts against National League Central opposition.

I also like the fact that the Chicago Cubs are an incredible 28-7 versus starting pitchers with a WHIP of 1.25 or less and 19-2 in Lester’s last 21 home starts as a favorite of -150 or more, whereas St. Louis is 6-14 in Leake’s last 20 starts against division opponents.

Finally, in Leake’s last four trips to Wrigley Field, he has yielded a combined fifteen earned runs on 25 hits in 21 1/3 innings of work.  Lay the price with the Chicago Cubs and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports Free Pick for Saturday, June 3: Chicago Cubs

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