MLB Picks: Reds at Cubs Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 8/12/2013
Want to know why the Cincinnati Reds didn't make a move for a bat before the July 31 trade deadline? Because of outfielder Ryan Ludwick. He was lost on Opening Day to a shoulder injury but appears set to return Monday when the Reds open a series in Wrigley Field against the Cubs. It's a potentially huge addition -- certainly no hitter that was traded, including Chicago's Alex Rios to Texas over the weekend, is better than Ludwick. He hit .275 with 26 homers and 80 RBI last year. At Wrigley Field in his career, he is batting.331 with nine homers and 36 RBI. The one main flaw in Cincinnati's lineup is the lack of good right-handed hitters outside of second baseman Brandon Phillips. Ludwick should solve that.
His return gives Cincinnati a pretty scary foursome in the lineup of Shin-Soo Choo (lefty), Phillips, Joey Votto (lefty), Ludwick and Jay Bruce (lefty). At least that was the order on Opening Day before Ludwick got hurt. Reports are that Manager Dusty Baker will hit Ludwick sixth to start. Not that Votto has missed Ludwick's protection in the lineup much as the MVP candidate is hitting .361 since the break. It will probably take Ludwick some time to get used to big-league pitching and he struggled in his rehab assignment. Ludwick played 13 games between Class A and Triple A and was 6-for-44. But I fully expect this to all but cinch a wild-card spot for Cincinnati. It entered Sunday with a 4.5-game lead for the second spot over Arizona. If the Reds could ever get ace Johnny Cueto back and healthy, they'd really be a force.
Reds at Cubs Betting Story Lines
Sometimes a team just owns another team for whatever reason, and it doesn't matter how good of a season either is having. Cincinnati owns Wrigley Field. Back on June 13, the Cubs beat the Reds 6-5 in 14 innings there. It was notable because it ended Chicago's 12-game losing streak at home in the series. The Reds lead the season series 10-3 and have won 25 of the past 32 against the Cubs overall. The previous record for consecutive victories by a visitor at Wrigley Field was 10 by the Cardinals (1943-44), New York Giants (1950-51) and Expos (1982-83).
Former Red Travis Wood gets the call for the Cubs. It turned out to be a great trade when the Cubs dealt lefty reliever Sean Marshall, who hasn't pitched since May 20, for Wood in December 2011. It was one of Theo Epstein's first big deals. Wood allowed two runs and six hits over 6.1 innings in a no-decision against the Phillies last time out. While he's pitched pretty well, the Cubs have lost seven of his last 10 starts because they can't hit. Wood is 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA in three starts against his former mates in 2013. Ludwick is 3-for-11 with a homer and two RBI in his career off Wood. Bruce has two homers in 11 at-bats. Votto is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts. Todd Frazier eats Wood's lunch, going 6-for-12 with two homers and six RBI.
The Reds counter with right-hander Mat Latos (11-3, 3.21), who deserves some Cy Young votes. He blanked Oakland over 7.1 innings on four hits last time out. He is 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA in three starts this year against the Cubs and 4-2 with a 3.27 ERA overall on the road. The Cub with the most success against Latos has easily been outfielder David DeJesus, who is 5-for-13 with a homer and two RBI off him. Catcher Wellington Castillo is 3-for-3 off him. Entering Sunday, Castillo is hitting.421 with six RBI in his last 14 games. Castillo's .421 average since July 25 leads big-league catchers Apparently Latos has a hex on Darwin Barney, who is 0-for-12 with four strikeouts off him.
Reds at Cubs Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Reds opened at -138 and the Cubs at +128 with a total of 7.5. All trends entering Sunday: Cincinnati is 55-57-4 “over/under” (26-30-3 on road) and 56-60 on the runline. Chicago is 53-59-4 over/under (28-26-2 at home) and 70-46 on the runline.
Cincinnati is 2-8 in its past 10 road games against lefty starters. The Reds are 5-0 in Latos' past five Monday starts. Cincinnati is 15-1 in Latos' past 16 starts with five days of rest. However, the Reds are only 2-5 in his past seven on the road. The Cubs are 7-3 in their past 10 series openers. They are 1-6 in their past seven at home against righty starters. Chicago is 1-5 in Wood's past six home starts. They are 0-5 in his past five against the NL Central. The under is 6-0-1 in Cincinnati's past seven on the road. It is 4-0 in the Reds' past seven road games against lefties. The over is 6-1 in Latos' past seven against teams with a winning record. The under is 5-1 in Chicago's past six at home. It is 5-1-2 in Wood's past eight at home. The over is 6-1 in the past seven meetings in Chicago. The Cubs are 0-5 in Wood's past five against the Reds.
MLB Picks: Reds at Cubs Betting Predictions
I was trying to think of a reason to pick the Cubs because I often like home dogs, but I really can't. I do like them on the runline but think Latos will keep that lineup mostly in check. So take the Reds and the under -- as always at a Wrigley game, monitor the wind situation before betting a total.
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