Luis Castillo cut down the Arizona Diamondbacks in impressive fashion to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3 win in the desert Friday night. He went 5 strong innings, while the bullpen took care of the rest to quiet a Diamondbacks team who are suddenly stuck in reverse.
It doesn’t take long for things to change in the majors and the Diamondbacks are yet another example. Following a 11-1 run for the Diamondbacks, they are now stuck in a five-game losing streak. Their hot run got them as close as 2 games from a wildcard, but variance decided to kick in on their fun in the desert.
The Diamondbacks head into Saturday 4.5 games back of a wildcard, so they’re still alive, but will have to get out of this hole fast. Arizona must find the same stroke that brought them to 11-1 in 12 games. In any event, the Diamondbacks were never expected to be postseason contenders. The front office traded Zack Greinke away without much expectations for the rest of the season, so despite the fall back, the D-backs are playing with house money at this point.
No one expected the postseason when they parted ways with Paul Goldschmidt, so even before the Greinke trade the D-backs were out of the picture. It would be hard to argue against the postseason if they had Goldschmidt, Greinke, and still worked a deal for Zac Gallen.
We can’t draw up hypothetical situations, though. The Reds were bigger losers this season, as they traded for Yasiel Puig in the offseason and got nowhere with him. Joey Votto wanted help and the front office delivered Puig, who isn’t with the team any longer.
The emergence of Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo have been bright spots this season. On paper with Puig and a better rotation in 2019, the Reds were underachievers this season and a lot more was expected. Instead, they go into Saturday with a record of 69-79 and 14.5 games back in the NL Central. The Reds have their vacations booked, but still look to finish up the season strong. Anthony DeSclafani will get the call for the Reds, while Merrill Kelly is scheduled for the Reds on Saturday. Head below for our free Reds vs. Diamondbacks pick.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
The Diamondbacks falling back after going 11-1 was expected, but how far they fall is the question right now. Out in Queens, the Mets did the same thing. They got close in the wildcard race and then faded backwards. Neither team had the talent to sustain those runs, so it wasn’t much of a surprise in my opinion. In any event, this wildcard race is likely to come down to the final week of the regular season, which is nearly upon us. It’s imperative that the Diamondbacks finish strong against the Reds on Saturday and Sunday if they want to be involved.
Merrill Kelly has been all over the place in 2019 for the Diamondbacks. He’s looked awful at points, but then somehow turns it on in his next outing to look like a Cy Young contender. Kelly finding consistency in 2020 would give the team a considerable boost next season.
In any case, Kelly has been pitching up to par recently, with an ERA of 3.18 and 1.24 WHIP in his previous three outings. Also note that Kelly has found consistency at home, but the road is where his real problems have been. He carries an ERA of 3.50 and 1.15 WHIP in the desert this season. The UNDER has gone 7-2-1 in his last nine outings at home.
Things haven’t gone right for the Diamondbacks this past week, but I think Kelly can get them back to a winning look on Saturday. It’s questionable whether the offense can help him out, though. DeSclafani has been sharp recently, with an ERA of 2.70 and 0.70 WHIP. He’s also had a heck of a history against this Diamondbacks team.
The D-backs are hitting just .164 with 1 home run against DeSclafani in 61 plate appearances. There has been an average of only 5.3 runs scored per game between the Reds and Diamondbacks in their last three meetings. A total of 9 looks a touch too high here. The UNDER looks like the best value in this contest Saturday in the desert.