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Reds at Astros – Free Pick June 2nd

Cincinnati Reds -122 at Houston Astros +112 (Total: 8.5)

Mat Latos vs. Wandy Rodriguez

The Reds have been one of the best teams in baseball over the last three weeks, even though some of their offensive stats would belie the winning results.  They have scored three or less runs in six of their last fourteen games, yet have a dazzling 10-4 record over that same span.  Meanwhile, the Astros had impressed many with the strong start, hovering near .500 most of the season despite being predicted to be one of the two or three worst teams in all of baseball.  However, the last week has been a struggle for them; well, more like an abject disaster.  They have lost seven straight ballgames, and a few of them have been downright ugly.  During their seven game losing stretch they have been outscored 55-33.  That means they are allowing an average of over eight runs per game.

The Reds have some big bats who should be able to take advantage of the beleaguered Astro bullpen, assuming the can get to Wandy Rodriqguez and chase him from the ballgame by the sixth inning.  Wandy has traditionally pitched well against the Reds, but has been beaten in three of his last four decisions against them.  He is having yet another strong season, with an ERA of 2.47 and lasting an average of 6 2/3 innings per start.  But his last three starts haven’t been as sharp, going just 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA and a high 1.67 WHIP.

For the Reds Mat Latos is beginning to look like the front of the rotation anchor they were expecting when they cleared out some big prospects in the deal to acquire him from the San Diego Padres.  Latos is still toting an ERA in the high fours, but his WHIP of just 1.09 of his last three starts (in which he pitched 19 1/3 innings) indicates he is beginning to locate his pitches better and have more efficient innings.  His last start was a bit of an anomaly; he allowed five hits, all solo homeruns, on an afternoon in which Great American Ballpark yielded a record-tying nine homeruns.  Strange afternoon, but aside from the long flies, Latos pitched extremely well.

For the season the Reds, who long struggled with left-handed pitching (Wandy Rodriguez included), are hitting a solid .251.  This lineup should have little difficulty with the ‘Stros lefty tonight.   The Reds are 10-3 overall and 4-1 in their last five games in which they were favored between -110 and -150.   The Astros meanwhile are mired in a horrible losing streak in which they lost all seven games by more than a run.

I like the Reds to WIN tonight at a tidy -122, and am going to double-up with the -1.5 runline at +145.

Free Pick:  Cincinnati Reds TO WIN -122