MLB Picks 2012: Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets

The Chicago Cubs (31-51) and New York Mets (45-38) will open up a three-game National League series on Friday night at Citi Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 ET

Chicago Cubs at New York Mets

New York Mets SP Johan Santana is 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA in eight home starts this year

Chicago split its recent four-game road series against the Atlanta Braves, suffering a 7-3 defeat on Thursday night, as the club was unable to overcome an early four-run deficit.  The Cubs dropped to 6-18 against left-handed starters in the defeat, as they prepare to face two more before the All-Star break.  The club won two of three against New York in a series in the Windy City earlier this year despite getting outscored by a 21-12 margin.  Chicago is 3-9 as a road underdog of +150 to +175, with the “over” going 7-4 in those contests.

Cubs starting pitcher Travis Wood (3-3, 3.05 ERA) has won his last three efforts, with the team outscoring opponents by a 11-2 margin in that span.  He threw 7.2 innings of shutout baseball in his last outing, earning a 3-0 home win over the Houston Astros.  The left-hander is 1-2 with a 2.66 ERA in four road starts, as opposing hitters are batting just .185 against him.  In two lifetime outings versus the Mets, Wood has tallied a 1-0 record and 2.31 ERA, including a 6-1 home win on June 25.

New York will need to refocus quickly after picking up an emotional 6-5 walk-off victory to close out a series against the Philadelphia Phillies, with third baseman David Wright leading the way offensively.  He finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs, and singled home the winning run.  The club’s starting pitching has been tremendous recently, lasting at least six innings in 18 of the last 19 games.  New York has won both games this year as a home favorite of -150 to -175.

Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana (6-4, 2.76 ERA) earned a 5-0 road win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last outing, allowing just three hits over eight shutout innings.  The left-hander is 4-1 with a 1.16 ERA in eight home outings, with opposing hitters batting just .174 against him.  In seven career games (four starts) versus the Cubs, Santana has compiled a 3-1 mark and 1.89 ERA, issuing nine walks and striking out 32 batters in 33.1 frames.

Bettors will likely back the Cubs due to their 6-1 mark in series openers, while the Mets are 1-7 in Santana’s last eight starts versus NL Central foes.

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