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Saturday’s MLB Best Bet: Playoff Implications on the Line at Wrigley

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Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks could be one of the most underrated and under-appreciated arms in baseball based upon the season he’s having in 2015. The 25-year-old has put together a 3.67 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 21 starts, including garnering a 3.23 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over nine starts at Wrigley Field. While those surface statistics don’t impress standing alone, Hendricks’ underlying metrics do:

Kyle Hendricks’ 2015 Metrics:

3.34 FIP & 3.37 xFIP
3.43 SIERA (7.56 K/9, 1.83 BB/9 & 0.81 HR/9 )
3.76 FIP & 2.98 xFIP at home (8.32 K/9 & 1.87 BB/9)
2.90 FIP & 2.80 xFIP in July (8.13 K/9 & 0.58 HR/9)

Hendricks is also supported by a very good Chicago bullpen that owns a 3.41 ERA and 1.25 WHIP this season, including a 3.20 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in day games. With the Giants averaging just 4.1 runs in day games this season, look for Hendricks to improve upon his season numbers this afternoon.

Meanwhile, San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain’s career continues to decline as he has only thrown 33 innings since coming off the disabled list on July 2. Cain toes the rubber with a 4.91 ERA and 1.45 WHIP this season, including a 6.00 ERA and 1.71 WHIP on the road and a 4.76 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over his last three starts. The 30-year-old has pitched to a pedestrian 4.15 ERA in 51 starts since 2012, indicating that Cain’s effectiveness has evaporated.

Matt Cain’s 2015 Metrics:

4.43 FIP & 4.31 xFIP
4.27 SIERA (6.55 K/9 & 1.36 HR/9)
5.86 FIP & 4.65 xFIP on the road (6.00 K/9, 2.57 BB/9 & 2.14 HR/9)

In 2014, Cain posted a 4.58 FIP over 90.1 innings so his decline is real. From a technical standpoint, the Giants are 0-5 in Cain’s last five starts versus N.L. Central opposition, whereas Chicago is 11-3 in Hendricks’ last fourteen home starts, including a perfect 7-0 as home favorites of -150 or less.

With Cain on the mound, San Francisco is also a money-burning 11-25 overall, 3-7 in game 3 of a series, 4-10 on the road and 4-12 following a team loss.  With Chicago winners of 8 of its last nine games, take the Cubs as out free MLB Best Bet and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports MLB Best Bet: Chicago Cubs

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