Friday MLB Preview – Reds at Cubs

NL Central rivals get set to play an important three-game series at Wrigley Field.

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

Cincinnati has won six of its last eight games and moved its record to 10-1-1 in its last 12 series.  The Reds will now face off with a team that they’ve beaten five of six times this year, outscoring the Cubs by a 49-13 margin.  “Yeah, we’ve got to keep winning series and hopefully you throw a sweep or two in there somewhere,” manager Dusty Baker said.  The club is just a game over .500 with a 19-18 record this season (-150) and the total is 11-21 O/U in those contests.  Cincinnati is averaging 4.1 runs per game and hitting for a combined .259 average during the day, which is almost a full run lower (4.9) than its average for the year.  Playing divisional opponents has provided a boost to the team’s record all season, coming into this three-game series with a 31-18 record against NL Central opponents (+1,340).

Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo is 11-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts this season and is coming off a 5-2 home victory against the Braves.  In that start, he allowed two runs (zero earned) and four hits over seven innings.  He is 6-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 road starts this season, as opposing hitters are hitting just .222.  The right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.28 ERA in nine daytime starts, while he issued 30 walks and picked up 32 strikeouts.  In 20 career appearances (18 starts) versus the Cubs, Arroyo has compiled a 8-6 record and 2.91 ERA.  He made six starts in July, going 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA, allowing opponents to hit a .185 average.

Chicago turned the tables in its last game on Wednesday, picking up a 15-3 home victory over the Brewers at Wrigley Field.  The team had been on the losing end of 17-2 and 18-1 contests the previous seven days, as they were outscored 67-20 over that span.  “We allowed a lot of runs in Colorado and the first game in Milwaukee, and it wasn’t fun,” third baseman Aramis Ramirez said.  “Today we turned the page around and scored 15 runs.”  The Cubs haven’t enjoyed the same divisional success as today’s opponent, going 21-32 against the NL Central (-2,300) and the total is 23-25 O/U in those games.  Chicago has also failed to pick up back-to-back wins this season on a consistent basis, producing a 16-30 record after a win (-2,060).

Cubs starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny is 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 21 appearances (15 starts) this season and his team has won four of his last five outings.  Over that span, the offense has provided him 38 runs of support.  The left-hander is an even 3-3 with a 4.05 ERA in 10 home outings (eight starts), but has surrendered just a single home run in 46.2 innings.  He has made 13 daytime appearances (eight starts) this year, going 41 with a 3.10 ERA, managing to strike out 49 batters in 49.1 innings.  In eight career starts versus the Reds, Gorzelanny has posted an even 3-3 record and 4.89 ERA.

Bettors will definitely be aware of the Reds 9-3 record as a road underdog of +100 to +125.  This selection gains even more strength with the team being 9-1 in Arroyo’s last 10 road starts against losing competition.  Chicago is an even 7-7 at home with a money line of -100 to -125 in 2010 and has gone 1-5 in Gorzelanny’s last six starts versus the division.

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