The Cincinnati Reds earned a marquee win on Friday, as they topped the NL Central leading Chicago Cubs by a score of 6-5. The Reds scored 2 runs in the top of the 9th to complete a late comeback. Another blown game by a bullpen, shocker, no not really.
In contact sports you don’t want to bring it to the judges to decide who won. In baseball, it’s dangerous to go into the final innings with a 1-run lead and having to depend on the bullpen to get outs. Eugenio Suarez knocked a 2-run shot against Steve Cishek to get the lead.
It was a good win for the Reds, though, who need a lot more wins over good teams to claw their way back in the NL Central. Despite it being the Cubs second loss in a row, they’re holding onto a lead over the Brewers in the division. That doesn’t mean too much in May.
The NL Central should provide an exciting ride to the finish line. I wouldn’t sleep on anyone in the division just yet. That includes the Reds who are 6 games back at the moment. They have an uphill battle against some quality teams in their own division, though.
Yasiel Puig has been in a slump and that must change as he returns from a nagging injury. He wasted little time to get back on track Friday. Puig finished the day with 3 RBI’s, including a 2-run long ball which ultimately helped spring the upset over the Cubs.
That would get the Reds going in the right direction and their eyes set on the rest of the division. Their offense got going in the second-half and crawled out of an embarrassing situation to finish with a respectable record. This season they’re leaving themselves some more rope to perhaps do more damage with a hot second-half. Head below for our free Reds vs. Cubs pick.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs Pick:
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It has noticeably been a rough start for Yu Darvish on the bump for the Cubs. The Cubs can’t have that if they’re going to want to succeed. The landscape is going to be way too difficult to navigate with Darvish struggling. They cannot afford to get by this season without Darvish pitching at an optimal level.
He’s been looking for some consistency and has been looking stronger recently. Darvish has allowed more than 3 runs once in his last seven outings. He posted an ERA of 3.52 and 1.24 WHIP in his previous three outings, which is not elite, but better than the hole he was in earlier.
One of his recent solid outings was against the Reds. He looked good with just 2 runs allowed in 5.1 innings. Darvish whiffed 11 hitters for his highest strikeout total against Cincinnati. The Reds haven’t had much success at all against Darvish in his career, as they’re hitting .191 with just 1 home run in 47 at-bats. Puig has only seen Darvish twice and he came up short in both instances. We’ll see if Puig’s performance yesterday is a sign of something more promising on the horizon, though.
Tyler Mahle has been solid with an ERA of 3.51 going into Saturday at Wrigley. He has been good against the Cubs as well, but there are two hitters he ought to shy away from. Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber have both made it difficult on Mahle in his career. Baez is hitting .500 with a home run, while Schwarber has a home run as well and a batting average of .429. Albert Almora has been decent too, with a .333 batting average in 6 at-bats.
Mahle has been hotter than the sun at home, posting an ERA of 0.82 and 1.09. However, his numbers take a serious dip on the road with a 4.24 ERA and 0-5 record. As a team, the Reds haven’t been good on the road, as they enter at 12-16 following the win Friday.
Darvish has a nice opportunity to repair his numbers again vs a team he has had immense success against in the past. And with that, the Cubs can shake off their two-game skid at Wrigley Saturday afternoon. I’m expecting the Reds to hit their stride in the summer, but look for the Cubs to prevent two losses in a row against an NL Central foe on Saturday.