MLB Odds: Reds wrap up series in Arizona

By: Jimmy Sirody | Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Joey Votto

First sacker Joey Votto’s MVP season continues for the Cincinnati Reds.

West Coast trips have been nightmares for the Cincinnati Reds and their fans for decades, tripping the team up many times and nearly derailing it in others.

The Reds are just 16-35 in the Pacific Time zone over the past five years. They have had success in Arizona, where they conclude a three-game series on Thursday, but have a 12-game losing streak at Dodger Stadium, the next stop before heading to San Francisco.

Mostly, the teams they played were better than they were. Not this time. The Dodgers have lost five of seven, the Giants eight of 12.

Cincinnati has also thrived on the road this season. The Reds win in Tuesday night’s series opener at Chase Field extended their winning streak on the highway to five. The Reds boast the only winning road record among the National League Central clubs at 32-25. The team with the best road record has won 13 of the past 15 division titles.

While Cincinnati has won four straight since getting swept at home against St. Louis, the Cardinals have lost three in a row. The Reds took a two-game lead in the division chase into play Wednesday.

Arizona has actually been respectable this month. The Diamondbacks returned home Tuesday after a 4-3 road trip and they had won four of seven at Chase Field before bowing in the opener.

Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker has the luxury of juggling a pitching staff with a plethora of quality starters. Thursday night he sends young lefty Travis Wood (3-1, 2.65) to the bump for the first time since August 8.

Wood came out of nowhere to make his first start on July 1 at Wrigley Field and allowed just two runs and two hits in seven innings. After pitching ineffectively on short rest July 5 in New York he bounced back to take a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Philadelphia.

Wood has made seven of his eight starts on the road this year and the Reds are 6-1 in those seven games.

Southpaw Joe Saunders (7-12, 4.48) was extremely effective in his first two National League starts after coming to the D-Backs in a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. He limited the Phillies to two runs in seven innings on July 29 at Citizens Bank Park and followed that with a complete game win over Washington at Chase Field.

However, in his last two outings he has yielded nine earned runs and 18 hits in 12 innings.

Arizona has roughed up lefties recently, winning six of eight overall and five of seven at home.

Cincinnati carried a six-game winning streak at Chase Field into Game 2 on Wednesday and it has won 14 of the past 17 series scuffles overall.

The teams have tiptoed ‘under’ the baseball betting number at an 18-7-1 clip in the past 26 Arizona affairs. The Reds have knuckled ‘under’ in six of their eight road games against southpaws.

Hunter Wendelstedt will call the balls and strikes in the finale. The home team is 5-1 in his last six games behind the plate.

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