The Chicago Cubs dropped the hammer on the Oakland Athletics yesterday in the series finale. After a failure with a big loss Tuesday night, the Cubs returned the favor for a 10-1 win on Wednesday afternoon. Ian Happ was the big winner of the day, as he connected for 4 RBI’s on a grand slam. Happ can be an x-factor for the Cubs down the stretch.
He’s been surging recently with two home runs in his last three games. Happ and Kyle Schwarber can be the bats to put the Cubs over the top during clutch season in August and September. The Cardinals botched 1-0 lead in the 9th with 2 outs yesterday, so the Cubs got some more help from the Dodgers. The Cubs have opened a 3.5-game lead on the Cardinals and Brewers going into the weekend.
The Cardinals and Brewers will be thrilled to see the Cubs going on a road trip. This has to be their chance to reel the Cubs in and surpass them. The Cubs will be on a lengthy ten-game road trip. It’s certainly important because the Cubs have struggled to generate wins as a road team in 2019. We’ll see if they can reverse that trend. They’ll be in Cincinnati for four days, head to Philadelphia for a three-game series against the Phillies, and then wrap things up in Pittsburgh next weekend.
The Cubs host ten straight games at Wrigley Stadium towards the end of the regular season in September, so that could give them a clinching stretch. They can’t get lazy on this road trip, though. Flipping the trend and having a successful time on the road would help out immensely.
The Reds, who are clinging onto hope with a 4.5-game deficit for the final wildcard, go into this one with a record of 4-1 in their last five games. Cole Hamels will challenge former Dodger, Alex Wood, on Thursday night in this contest. Head below for our free Cubs vs. Reds pick.
Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
The Reds have an outside shot of going to the postseason. It’s not going to be easy and highly unlikely, but they are still alive with a 4.5-game hole to get out of. Alex Wood pitching well and Trevor Bauer coming over from the Indians definitely helps. That would give the Reds a formidable rotation to build around, with Luis Castillo at the top.
Wood returned to the rotation not that long ago and has looked sharp thus far. He’s allowed 4 runs in 11.1 innings of work, with 2 runs surrendered in each of his two outings. Wood was on the road and on home, with his home start a little iffier. He was tagged for 7 hits and a walk in 4.2 innings. That equates to a WHIP of 1.71 and .364 OBA for Wood. His numbers look good at first glance against the Cubs.
The Cubs as a team are hitting .222 against Wood in 90 at-bats. That sounds good, but there are four heavy hitters on the Cubs who are hitting better than .300 against Wood. Jason Heyward, Kris Bryant, David Bote, and Javier Baez all have batting average greater than .300, so there likely be some tricky at-bats for Wood to get through here. Conversely, there are only two hitters on the Reds’ roster who are hitting better than .300 against Hamels.
Hamels heads into Cincinnati throwing a hot baseball since June. He’s allowed 1 or less runs in six of seven outings, with a 1.22 ERA in June. Hamels missed all of July, but came back like nothing was ever wrong. In his most recent outing, his first start back, he was on fire with no runs allowed against the Brewers in a 4-1 win. At least for a night, the Cubs buck their brutal road trend and get their road trip started productively with a win in Cincinnati.