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Sunday’s Free MLB Best Bet Winner: San Francisco at Chicago

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Chicago right-hander Jake Arrieta has become one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball as he toes the rubber this afternoon with a 2.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, including a 2.61 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in eleven afternoon starts. The 29-year-old has gone 22-11 since the outset of the 2014 season with an impressive 2.51 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and a 9.4 K/9 rate. Arrieta’s outstanding surface statistics are also fully supported by his underlying metrics:

Jake Arrieta’s 2015 Metrics:

2.64 FIP & 2.79 FIP
2.94 SIERA (9.26 HR/9, 0.55 HR/9 & 51.7% GB%)
2.18 FIP & 2.57 xFIP in July (9.28 K/9 & 0.21 HR/9)
2.75 FIP & 2.96 xFIP in 2nd Half (10.04 K/9 & 0.35 HR/9)

These results follow a breakout 2014 campaign wherein Arrieta posted a 2.26 FIP, 2.73 xFIP and 2.83 SIERA over 156.2 innings of work (9.59 K/9; 0.29 HR/9).  According to Fangraphs, the average velocity of all five of Arrieta’s pitches – fastball, sinker, slider, curveball and changeup – is faster than in any of his five previous MLB seasons.

Arrieta is also supported by a very good Chicago bullpen that owns a 3.46 ERA and 1.25 WHIP this season, including a 3.32 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in day games. With the Giants averaging just 4.2 runs in day games this season, look for Arrieta to continue his ace-like campaign with his tenth consecutive quality start.

I’ve always like Jake Peavy because he’s a gritty competitor who always puts in a maximum effort on the mound. However, the 34-year-old MLB veteran had a 4.26 FIP and 4.55 FIP in July upon returning from his back injury (5.12 K/9; 1.14 HR/9). Now, lazy handicappers will simply cite Peavy’s 2.84 ERA last month, but that figure was aided by an unsustainable .232 BABIP and 83.3% LOB%. Peavy also owns a 4.73 FIP on the road this season where he has disturbing 3.57 BB/9 and 1.59 HR/9 rates.

San Francisco’s bullpen has also struggled recently as evidenced by its 4.81 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over the last seven games. Meanwhile, the Cubs’ surging offense is batting .282 with a .355 on base percentage over the last ten games, over which time they are averaging 5.4 runs per MLB game.

From a technical standpoint, the Giants are a money-burning 3-8 in their last 11 road game versus teams with a winning home record, 0-7 in their last seven road games versus .501 or greater opposition and 0-5 in Peavy’s last five outings versus teams with winning records.  Enthusiast has also taken over Chicago’s locker room.  “It’s exciting to me,” said rookie Addison Russell.  “Whenever we’re in big positions like that, it kind of hypes me up and I get even more into the game. I think, as competitors, we all do that.  So it’s pretty cool to feel that atmosphere.”

With Chicago winners of 9 of its last ten games, take the Cubs as our free MLB Best Bet and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports Free MLB Best Bet: Chicago Cubs

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