Cubs Rays Matchup

Cubs start a new series with Tampa today at home.  It’s a day game so we have current lineups.  Let’s get an idea what the betting market thinks of this matchup by looking at the first game.  Here’s what the Ouija Board says about today (noon snapshot).

DATE 07_04 2:20_PM Jul_4_12:17 TBA CHN
LINEAWAY TBA [ 0.433 ] < 0.435 >
STARTAWAY 0.90(0.537) Chris_Archer_TBA
LINEHOME CHN [ 0.585 ] < 0.583 >
STARTHOME 1.66(0.573) Jon_Lester_CHN

Lester pitching and he is usually favored by the market but today it’s at 0.583 for the Cubs, pretty stable from opening at 0.585. Normal home field advantage if you know nothing about the two teams is 0.540. The Cubs are getting a premium today but not the premiums they got earlier in the season. Let’s see why. Here is Tampa’s team status.

21.5 7.4 406 388 43 41 -9.4 -1.7 TBA

Tampa is 2 games above average at 43-41, almost the same as the Cubs who are completely average. They have decent PITCH, slightly above average BAT, and a terrible UR=-9.4. The Cubs could get some freebie runs this series due to TBA errors. At a team level TBA and CHN are almost equal. Let’s look at Chris Archer’s career because the market seems to take that into account.

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2012 -0.4 Chris_Archer_TBA PITCH XXXXX
2013 2.0 Chris_Archer_TBA PITCH +167+
2014 1.7 Chris_Archer_TBA PITCH +178+
2015 3.5 Chris_Archer_TBA PITCH +058+
2016 -0.1 Chris_Archer_TBA PR XXXXX
2016 1.0 Chris_Archer_TBA PITCH XXXXX
2017 0.9 Chris_Archer_TBA PITCH XXXXX
Total 8.6

A very solid career and dependable starting pitcher. No bad years and his best season was 2015 where he was ranked in the top 100 at #58. Not the outstanding veteran that is John Lester but could shut down Cubs hitters today. Let’s look at lineups.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 07042017
2.04 Steven_Souza_TBA RF 335
2.04 Corey_Dickerson_TBA LF 348
1.01 Evan_Longoria_TBA 3B 360
0.42 Wilson_Ramos_TBA C 22
-1.45 Trevor_Plouffe_TOT 1B 221
-0.92 Tim_Beckham_TBA 2B 293
-0.42 Adeiny_Hechavarria_TOT SS 88
-0.06 Peter_Bourjos_TBA CF 93
-0.04 Chris_Archer_TBA P 2
TOTAL WAA=2.60 PA=1762 WinPct=0.528

They have two standout hitters at the top of the lineup.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 07042017
-0.36 Jon_Jay_CHN LF 181
0.10 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B 338
1.47 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B 363
-1.05 Ben_Zobrist_CHN 2B 221
0.90 Ian_Happ_CHN CF 177
0.10 Jason_Heyward_CHN RF 217
0.73 Willson_Contreras_CHN C 255
0.21 Addison_Russell_CHN SS 267
-0.46 Jon_Lester_CHN P 39
TOTAL WAA=1.66 PA=2058 WinPct=0.515

Cubs lineup a bit above average.  Zobrist is back.  Rizzo is the sole standout hitter.  These WAA tabulations are season long value and don’t take into account short term trends.  Zobrist could start anew and hit like he did last year as well as Bryant and Russell and the above WinPct will be wrong.  Past results don’t affect future results.   However, we only know what happened in the past and according to the above data, these two lineups are practically even steven.

Let’s look at relief.

TeamID WAA IP WinPct
TBA -1.70 314.2 0.476
CHN 6.35 est
289 est 0.607

The Rays’ relief is underwater, the Cubs are still top tier MLB.  We have to estimate because Mongomery’s starter value and starting innings pitched needs to come off the relief staff value.  I have to do this manually for now.

tl;dr Cubs have a slight starter advantage and a big relief advantage.  Relief only matters if the Cubs can knock their starter out of the game early.  Lineups are about the same and the Cubs are getting a decent premium above home field advantage.  The Cubs were way over valued in many of their previous home stands and it appears the market has corrected itself like markets always do.

The weekly State of the Cubs tomorrow and perhaps Iowa Cubs and Kyle Schwarber update  the next day or day after.    Until then….