The Cincinnati Reds welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game series over the weekend. Cincinnati are feeling pretty good after a couple of wins against the Cubs this week. Luis Castillo showed up again in a big way in his most recent start, as he held the Cubs to 2 hits and 2 runs in 5.1 innings. There was a lengthy rain delay and the bullpen picked right up where Castillo left off.
The Reds are down in the NL Central at the moment, and I think if they get back into the hunt, it’s going to take their strong bullpen to do it. Yasiel Puig is going to have to be part of the equation as well. The Reds didn’t sign him to loaf around and collect a paycheck while not contributing. He’s hitting just .206 with 7 home runs as we get deeper into May. That has to change for the Reds who are going to need offense.
Everyone else in the NL Central are within 3.5 games of one another, while the Reds are 6.5 back. That’s certainly not ideal, but there is a long time left for Puig and company to get hot. They can’t depend on Castillo to carry the load, even though he is an early candidate for the National League Cy Young. Anthony DeSclafani is a guy who the Reds need to get going.
DeSclafani has been an average pitcher, but he is at a point in his career where it’s time to elevate his role. DeSclafani will see the bump this evening on Friday night. He will make ninth start of the season, while Rich Hill will make his fourth of the season. Hill was bothered by an injury during training camp, which set him back until April 28th when he made his 2019 debut against the Pirates. Head below for our free Dodgers vs. Reds pick.
L.A. Dodgers vs. Cincinnati Reds Pick:
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The Dodgers go into the weekend with a solid record of 29-16 and are on a three-game winning streak going into Cincinnati. They are enjoying life at the top of the National League, as they’ve shown thus far that they don’t need Puig in their lineup to have success. The Dodgers are also without Manny Machado after they traded for him last season. It wasn’t enough to win the World Series, but it appears that they have another team built to go far. Cody Bellinger has more than made up for their absence, as he continues to swing a hot bat with 15 home runs.
Rich Hill has made only three starts thus far this season. He returned to post what looked like an impressive start with just 1 earned run allowed. However, Hill was on the bump for 5 runs, including 2 deep balls. He was fortunately to only get credited with 1 run against. He wasn’t as fortunate against the Padres and Nationals, as he was responsible for 12 hits and 6 runs in 9 innings of play. He is looking for his first standout game of the season Friday in Cincinnati.
Hill has had some issues on the road, as he enters with an ERA of 6.75 and 2.00 WHIP after getting handled by the Padres in San Diego. The Reds are hitting better against left-handed pitching this season, with a batting average of .246 as opposed to .205 against righties. If DeSclafani can keep away from Joc Pederson he should be alright here.
Pederson has mauled him for a .444 batting average and the only hitter on the Dodgers to take him deep, which he was able to do twice. He has loved pitching at night, as he holds an ERA of 2.02 and 1.05 WHIP compared to an ERA of 8.16 and 1.53 WHIP during the day. I can see this being a letdown spot for the Dodgers in the season opener against the Reds. The Dodgers have been very beatable on the road with a record of 10-10. Pitching is about even here, but the price is far more attractive on the home team. Go with the home dog to pull off a small upset on Friday evening in Cincinnati.