I don’t know that I was being literal yesterday when I wrote that the “Reds won’t score.” I meant, “the Reds can’t score enough runs to beat Arrieta so they better hold the Cubbies to one run and hope for a they run into a pitch against the bullpen.” Either way, taking the Cubs on the runline seemed like pretty safe money, given the Reds pitching woes and the Cubs complete domination of them (and really, everyone, this season).
Arrieta made that money a little easier.
The Cubs hurler continued his unprecedented assault on pitching record books by nothing his second no hitter in nine starts, and becoming only the second person in MLB history to record two no-hitters without suffering a single loss in between. Amazing stuff. And if the Cubs bats woke up last night, it is hard to see anything aside from injuries derailing this squad. They are 12-4 and heading into last night, we near the bottom of the league in batting average. They own a staggering +60 run differential and are making all those bold World Series dreams look more than realistic – they are making them look probable…
Let’s see if we can start the weekend with another winner.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Chicago Cubs -218 at Cincinnati Reds +208 (Total: 8)
Jon Lester vs. John Moscot
We are going right back to the well tonight, but taking a slightly different perspective. Obviously, as the line indicates, the Cubs are once again at a massive pitching advantage with the secondary-ace Lester facing off against struggling rookie Moscot. However, the Reds have fared pretty well against Jon Lester in 2015, and give him a unique brand of fits; on the base paths. Lester’s difficulty holding runners on base is legendary, and the Reds have taken advantage of that in the past. They victimized Rockies Ruby De La Rosa for five stolen bases in a single inning earlier this week, so they are no stranger to running and putting pressure on pitchers who don’t control the running game well.
So do the Reds pull the shocking two to one upset?
Probably not. But it is also unlikely they get shut down completely tonight. I like them to get two or three runs at least off of Lester. But I also like the Cubs to score plenty of runs off Moscot and the Reds thin and vulnerable bullpen. The Cubbies have outslugged the Reds by a combined 38-6 in four games this year, scoring at least five in every single outing. Expect some fireworks tonight in Cincinnati.
Billy Hamilton is likely to not start tonight, which is tough luck for the Reds as he is hitting .717 with a homer against Lester, but the speedster is available to pinch run and wreak a little havoc. Joey Votto is struggling, but has had some decent success against Lester.
I think the Cubs win for obvious reasons, but I think they do it by slugging tonight. They are a reasonable value on the runline at -140, but I like the OVER even more at a normal -110.