San Diego Padres +165 at Cincinnati Reds -175 (Total: 8.5)
Kip Wells (2-3, 3.82 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (6-6, 3.76 ERA)
Anyone who tells you they saw the Reds have the best record in all of Major League Baseball when the calendar turned to August is lying. Making the Reds phenomenal play even more improbable is they way they have played without far and away their best player, National League MVP candidate Joey Votto. Since Votto went on the DL with a torn meniscus, the Reds are 13-2 and are currently the only team in MLB with a winning percentage over .600. Tonight they try to keep up their winning ways (winners of eleven of twelve) against the Padres.
The Padres are one of the poorer offensive ballclubs in the NL, but perhaps their stats are a bit saddled by spacious pitcher-friendly Petco Park. In two games in Cincinnati they have already tallied 17 runs (unfortunately they have given up 12, hence the 1-1 record). They suffered a disappointing loss last night, in more ways than one: they 7-6 loss was not good news, but the far worse news is catcher Yosmani Grandal heading to the 15-day disabled list. The rookie catcher had been a spark for the Padres since coming up from the minors and looks to be firmly entrenched as the catcher of the future.
The Reds, despite missing Votto, have been getting an abundance of offense. The biggest reasons have been the play of Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick. Since the All-Star break, Ludwick has six homeruns and leads the NL in RBIs. Phillips has hit .368 since moving into the three-hole in Votto’s stead. Add in Drew Stubbs, co-player of the week in the NL last week, and it’s easy to forget they are missing the major league leader in OBS and OPS.
Kip Wells will have his work cut out for him tonight cooling off a scorching Reds lineup. The Reds have scored 56 runs in their last ten games and have failed to score three or more runs only once during that stretch. Bronson Arroyo gets the ball for the Reds, and despite one of two tough outings, has been very consistent all season long. His 1.22 WHIP is second-best on the team and his sub-4.00 ERA, despite a disastrous start that lasted only two innings and allowed eight runs, is telling that Arroyo has been trouble for hitters most of the season.
I like the Reds to keep up their hot bats and to get the pitching that has eluded them the past two games and finally hold a pedestrian Padre lineup in check.
Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds to WIN -175, Cincinnati Reds -1.5 (+120)