Cincinnati is in 2nd in the NL Central, but find themselves as +105 underdogs heading into the July 26th Reds at Cubs contest. Chicago is in 4th in the division, but just took 2 of 3 at home over the weekend (granted against Arizona) and are a solid 30-18 at Wrigley Field on the year.
The biggest advantage Chicago has going on Monday night is the fact that Kyle Hendricks (12-4, 3.61 ERA) is taking the bump. The right-hander hasn’t suffered a loss since May 9th, and gave up just 1 ER over 6.0 IP in his lone start vs. the Reds this season on the 4th of July. Cincinnati sends Wade Miley (8-4, 2.72 ERA) to the mound in what could be a pitching dominant evening (O/U 8.5).
Reds Go On the Road
Cincinnati had a very favorable schedule lined up with 9 games at home coming out of the all-star break, but the team struggled to a 3-6 record over that span. Granted the stretch came against some solid teams in the Brewers, Mets, and Cardinals, but the Reds didn’t do themselves any favors in trying to make up what is now a 6.5 game deficit from Milwaukee in the Central.
Maybe going on the road in the July 26th Reds at Cubs matchup is what Cincinnati needs, as they are a respectable 25-22 in away games this season. The Reds have won 4 of their last 5 road games, and also swept Chicago when the two teams met up at the Great American Ballpark in early July. That includes a 3-2 win on the 4th of July in a Miley vs. Hendricks matchup while Cincinnati was a -114 favorite.
Miley finds himself a +105 underdog in what will be his third start of the season vs. the Cubs. The left-hander has allowed just 4 ER over 11.2 IP vs. Chicago this season, and has given up just 3 ER over his last three starts overall. The Cubs are also 3-10 in their last 13 games vs. a LH starter.
Last Stand for Chicago
The MLB trade deadline is Friday July 30th and it’s almost inevitable that Chicago will be moving some key pieces. The Cubs bought themselves a little bit of hope by taking 2 of 3 from Arizona over the weekend, but still find themselves 9 GB from the Brewers and 8 back in the wild card race with three teams to jump.
The good news is that Chicago took 2 of 3 at Wrigley earlier this season from the Reds, and are 39-18 the last 57 games vs. Cincinnati at the Friendly Confines. Kris Bryant (who may be on the move this week) is 8-18 (.444) with 2 HRs vs. Miley and Willson Contreras is 8-19 (.421) vs. the Cincy starter.
Of course the other upside for the Cubs at -135 is the fact that Hendricks is taking the ball. Chicago has gone 10-3 in his last 13 starts, and the right-hander has allowed 2 ER or less in 7 of his last 8 starts. Hendricks has had his troubles with Aristedes Aquino though, as the Reds outfielder has taken 2 of the 3 pitches he’s seen from the Cubs starter out of the yard.
Free July 26th Reds at Cubs Pick
Both pitchers have been solid this season, but strangely enough Hendricks has a slightly higher ERA at home this season than on the road. The right-hander has also given up 12 HR in 10 starts at Wrigley this season, and the Reds will take advantage of that on a warm night on the North Side.
Reds 6 – Cubs 3
Free Pick: Reds +105