The Chicago Cubs are a very acceptable 49-36 on the ’18 season, good enough to keep them within 2.5 games of the Brewers in the NL Central. Chicago might find themselves in first place if not for a 3-7 record vs. Cincinnati this season. The Reds captured their 5th straight win over the Cubs yesterday but are still +140 underdogs in the July 7th NL free pick thanks largely in part to their 4-10 record over the last 14 at Wrigley. It’s the inconsistent Tyler Chatwood for Chicago against the seemingly-turning-things-around Matt Harvey for the Reds – does Cincy get another one?
Red Look to Keep Fighting in the Central
We’re past the halfway point for the 2018 season and the Reds sit 14 GB from the Brew Crew in the NL Central. That hasn’t stopped them from playing hard as Cincinnati is 5-1 over their last 6 and 7-3 in their last 10. The Reds offense is an under-the-radar 9th in the MLB in runs/game and 6th in BA and they’ve been continuing to hit the ball well lately. Take away yesterday’s 3-2 win over the Cubs and Cincinnati has 40 runs in the 5 games prior. The Reds eyes should light up in the July 7th NL free pick to see Chicago’s Tyler Chatwood on the mound as the team has a .326 career average against the right hander. This will hold true if Eugenio Suarez (.481 OBP last 7 days) and Billy Hamilton (.421) continue to get on base.
What would be a question mark for the Reds today might actually be an asset as Matt Harvey (4-5, 4.91 ERA) is coming off two solid starts. He held the Brewers to 2 hits and 0ER on Sunday and gave up just 1ER to the talented Braves offense the start before that. Harvey also pitched well against the Cubs three starts ago on June 21st, limiting them to 2ER over 6.0 IP. The Reds are 5-2 in Harvey’s last 7 starts vs. a team with a winning record as well.
Cubs Aim to Get Home Cooking Started Back Up
One of Chicago’s biggest advantages today is playing in front of the raucous Saturday afternoon Wrigley crowd. Yesterday’s loss was the first in 8 games at Wrigley for Joe Maddon’s team. Ian Happ, Anthony Rizzo, and Jason Heyward all have a HR in their career against Harvey with no player having more than 14 career AB against him. Albert Almora, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber are also all hitting over .400 for the past week so you’d think the Cubs offense could produce some runs today. The ‘over’ is 8-2 in the last 10 Cubs Saturday games but the wind is blowing in at 8MPH today at Wrigley and oddsmakers have set the number at 8.5 today.
Chicago should score in the July 7th NL free pick, but how many runs will they need with Tyler Chatwood (3-5, 4.54 ERA) on the mound? The right hander did pitch well against Cincinnati earlier in the year allowing just 1ER in 6.0 IP on April 2nd. His last time out however in the first start off of paternity leave Chatwood surrendered 7ER in 5.0 IP to the Twins. The wind was blowing out that day however and Chatwood does have two outings of 1ER allowed in his last four starts. Which version of the pitcher shows up Saturday though?
July 7th NL Free Pick Betting
The Cubs are great on Saturdays but the Reds have owned Chicago this season. Therefore the side in this game doesn’t offer a whole lot although the value is on the Reds at +140. The total seems a bit low however. Matt Harvey has won three in a row for the first time since ’15, but he had an 11.05 ERA against Chicago last year surrendering 9ER in 7.1 IP including 3HR. With Chatwood being so unpredictable as well expect some runs to corss the plate in Wrigley today.
Free Pick: Cincinnati Reds / Chicago Cubs *over 8.5*