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Reds vs. Rockies MLB Pick – July 4th

It hasn’t been easy to trust the Colorado Rockies lately, but they may have stirred up some confidence in MLB bettors after dispatching the Cincinnati Reds to open up their latest series at Coors Field on Monday night. The Rockies hope to make it two wins in a row on Tuesday as they (and everyone else) looks to celebrate July 4th.

Colorado had really been in a rut (1-9 over their previous 10 games), but perhaps a trip home can cure what ails them. That certainly was the case last night, when they edge out the Reds, 5-3. We saw the game disappoint as a whole, though, as the Rockies and Reds didn’t blast off and fell well short of a high Total.

Cincinnati dropped their second straight game and was naturally part of that disappointment and despite going a respectable 5-5 over their last 10 games, have fallen into the cellar of the NL Central. It’s quite possible their fall continues tonight, as their paltry 12-27 road record doesn’t figure to do them any favors.

Does that mean we should back the Rockies at home? Or should we take the supreme value in the underdog Reds or attack this Total? Let’s take a closer look at this matchup to find out:

Cincinnati Reds (+142) @ Colorado Rockies (-164) Total: 12.5

Homer Bailey (0-2, 27.00 ERA) vs. Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.84 ERA)

The 31-year old Bailey is as good of a place to start as any. He’s been rather rusty (and terrible) across his first two starts in 2017 and that may have something to do with not playing much (8 starts over the previous two seasons). It’s fair to wonder if he just needs to shake off rust or if the 12 hits and 14 runs (including 3 home runs) he’s given up to get the year going shows he’s in rapid decline.

I’m not ready to make that call, but these are certainly warning signs of a pitcher to refrain from backing – especially on the road against a dangerous Rockies offense. Bailey isn’t necessarily giving up too much contact overall, but it’s been of the hard variety and he also isn’t making batters miss (4 total strikeouts). I’m not sure he can get away with this form at Coors Field, where poorly placed balls will quickly turn into doubles and home runs.

Simply put, the value is tempting in this park, but we can’t pick the Reds here with any confidence. Bailey has been so bad that he truly could spot the Rockies 5-7 runs before the first two innings are up. You can’t back volatility like that. It’s fair that Bailey’s return hasn’t been easy with tough matchups against the Nationals and Brewers, but the Rockies are just as nasty and the park puts this thing over the top. Add in Colorado’s propensity to at least establish contact (4th in batting average) against right-handed pitching, and siding with the Reds doesn’t feel like the play.

Cincinnati has been horrendous outside of Great American Ballpark, too, while Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.84 ERA) looks like the superior arm between the two at the moment. The matchup isn’t a whole lot easier for Freeland on the other side, but the 24-year old southpaw has inexplicably held it together (4-3, 3.21 ERA) at home this year.

It’s tough to know which version of Freeland we’re getting, though. He’s allowed 17 hits and 9 runs over his last two games and a low K rate doesn’t make him all that imposing in this park against these Reds. It could be made even worse by the Reds’ success against lefties, as they rank 9th in home runs and 10th in batting average against left-handed pitching on the year.

I think Freeland could keep things tight enough to get the Rockies the win here, but perhaps that’s too obvious to back. I do like the Rockies a lot tonight and that could be a great way to end our drought, but I’ll chase a little more value and target this ridiculous Over. It really isn’t that insane, though. This park and Freeland’s recent form could have him chip in a few runs, while Bailey’s recent form could potentially get most of the runs we need. After last night disappointed we can expect a more explosive game tonight and that has us shooting for the Over.

Pick: Over 12.5 (-115) 

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