Cincinnati Reds @ Milwaukee Brewers -122 (Total: 8)
Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 4.24 ERA) v. C. Narveson (1-0, 2.19 ERA)
Cincinnati has been reeling since they last met the Brewers, losers of 11 of 17 and seeing their once leagu- leading offense hit just an anemic .227 over that stretch. Tonight, they turn to veteran stopper Bronson Arroyo to try and stop the bleeding.
Arroyo has been masterful against the Brewers, going 2-0 with a sub .200 ERA in his last five starts in Miller Park. Given the Reds recent offensive woes, they really need a good solid pitching effort tonight.
On the offensive side, Brewer pitching has been particularly kind to MVP Joey Votto. In his career against the Brew Crew, Votto is hitting a robust .417. Look for him to bolster his current season batting average of .387 this series.
The Brewers are playing very good baseball in the time since their opening weekend losing sweep at Cincinnati, but sometimes matchups just favor one team over the other. That appears to be the case here.
The Reds have taken 18 of their last 21 against Milwaukee. To be able to take a trend like that AND be at +111 for the privilege? It is a great value-line.
PICK: Cincinnati Reds to WIN (+111)
Washington Nationals @ Pittsburgh Pirates -120 (Total: 8)
J. Lannan (2-1, 3.43 ERA) vs. P. Maholm (0-3, 4.30 ERA)
The Nationals flirted with respectability last season before fading down the stretch. This year, a 10-10 start has folks in the nation’s capital dreaming about a possible Wildcard berth… and they may not be crazy.
The National snapped their three-game skid Sunday, and will make up the final game of the three-game series tonight against the Pirates. The pitching matchup would seem to favor the Nats. Paul Maholm lasted just 3 2/3 in his most recent start, allowing six runs in a loss against the Florida Marlins. Tonight, he faces a National team he has struggled mightily against in his career, with an 0-4 mark and a 6.26 ERA.
The first thing that gives me some pause is the Nationals struggles against left-handed pitching thus far this season. They are hitting a league-worst .192 against left handers (of which Maholm is), and their prize free agent addition, Jason Werth, is a miserable 0 for 14 against lefties on the season.
Digging even deeper into the pitching matchup, the Nationals’ starter, John Lannan is just 1-3 with a 4.87 ERA against the Pirates in his career, and this year’s Pirate offense appears to be much improved. Add in Lannan’s difficulty keeping runners off base (he has yielded a horrendous .387 on base percentage), and it looks like it could be a good night for the Buccos.
I’ll take the Pittsburgh Pirates to WIN at a respectable -120 money line.
PICK: Pittsburgh Pirates to WIN (-120)