Cincinnati Reds -115 at Los Angeles Dodgers +105
Johnny Cueto (9-4, 2.26 ERA) vs. Chris Capuano (9-3, 2.69 ERA)
The Reds made quite a fuss over the omission of Cueto and Brandon Phillips from the All-Star roster, and given those two’s history with former Cardinal (and current All-Star) manager Tony LaRussa, it isn’t the most unreasonable supposition. Tonight, Cueto gets his chance to make his statement ON the field, and show that he was truly an egregious omission.
He will have his work cut out for him, as the Reds are missing more than a few of their big bats. Zack Cozart is unlikely to play tonight as a precautionary measure after being beaned in the head in the fifth inning last night. Likewise, no word yet if Joey Votto will be back in the lineup after missing the last three games with a strained knee, and the same for Scott Rolen. That would seem to add up a pretty distinct disadvantage for the Reds, but the bat of Todd Frazier (3 RBI’s last night and 26 on the season in limited action) and the arm of Cueto might just be enough to get the Reds past a tough starter.
Capuano has been excellent this season, and hasn’t shown any signs of faltering, even as the Dodger offense has sputtered around him. He is just 1-1, but has thrown 22 innings with a 2.14 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP over his last three starts. That’s about as good as it gets. However, he has one disadvantage that Cueto does not, and that is the familiarity the opposing lineup has with him. Capuano spent many years in the NL Central, facing the Reds many times a season. For the Dodgers, it will be a rare look at one of the best young arms in baseball.
The Reds have won six of their last eight against the Dodgers, including four in a row at Dodger Stadium. The Reds have been giant killers on the road of late as well, winning eight of ten on the road against teams with a .600 winning percentage or better. The Dodgers meanwhile have been struggling; home, road and anywhere else one can possibly play a baseball game. The Dodgers are 3-11 in their last 14 home games as the FAVORITE, and are just 3-13 in their last 16 games overall. People were wondering if (and when) the wheels would come off without MVP candidate Matt Kemp. They have their answer now. They have.
I think the Reds scratch out win tonight, even with their depleted lineup, behind the solid pitching off Johnny Cueto and their electric bullpen.
Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds to WIN -115