MLB Odds: Cincinnati hosts hot Cubs
By: Jimmy Sirody
Friday, August 27, 2010
Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo is 9-0 with five days between starts.
The Chicago Cubs
roll into Cincinnati for a weekend showdown with the Reds after sweeping a three-game series in Washington. Interim manager Mike Quade, who took over the reigns prior to this series, is the first Cubs manager to win his first three games since Jim Riggelman started 4-0 in 1995.
Fifth-place Chicago trails first-place Cincinnati by 19 ½-games in the NL Central division standings. The Cubs re-enter division play hoping to play their customary late-season spoiler role.
The Reds return to the friendly confines of The Great American Ballpark after winning five of nine on the road. They play their next six games against Chicago and Milwaukee before hitting the road to play in St. Louis, which is 3 ½ games behind the Reds.
Cincinnati has won 10 of 13 versus the Cubs this year, including a sweep at Wrigley Field the last time the two teams met at the beginning of August. The Reds are averaging 6.5 runs per game against Chicago, with 18 homers in 13 games.
Pitching continues to be a concern for manager Dusty Baker. The Reds have a 4.48 ERA this month and opponents batted a robust .301 while scoring 63 runs on the road trip. They allowed the San Francisco Giants to score 38 runs in three games.
However, Bronson Arroyo (14-7, 3.82) has been a tower of strength while the rest of the staff struggles. The veteran right-hander has worked seven or more innings 16 times this year, including five of his last six starts.
He makes his third start of the season, and first at home, versus the Cubs Saturday night. Arroyo blanked Chicago in two appearances at Wrigley Field, allowing seven hits in 13 innings.
The Reds had Thursday off, giving their ace an extra day of rest. That's bad news for the Cubs. Arroyo is 9-0 with five days between starts, but has lost six of his last seven Saturday outings.
Randy Wells (5-12, 4.56) scuffled in his last outing, allowing five earned runs, seven hits and three homers last Tuesday versus Atlanta.
Wells has stymied Cincinnati in the past, winning three of four career decisions with a 2.58 ERA. He faced the Reds twice at home this season, notching a pair of quality starts while surrendering four earned runs and just 10 hits in 14 2/3 innings.
Chicago brought a five-game road winning streak into Cincinnati. But the Cubs have come up short in 16 of Wells' last 21 road starts, including the last six. They have also dropped 17 of their past 21 when facing teams on the plus side of the ledger.
The ‘under' is 7-3-3 in the last 13 series scuffles in Ohio.
Chicago had zipped ‘over' at a 10-3-2 clip in its last 15 road games prior to Friday. Cincinnati has strayed below the number at an 18-7-2 clip with Arroyo on the hill at home. The Reds have also knuckled ‘under' at a 26-6-3 clip when the right-hander has had five days rest.