Chicago (Arrieta) at Cincinnati (Romano) O/U 9.5
Recommendation: Chicago -1.5 +100
What’s not to like about the Cubs today? Joe Maddon’s squad is clicking, winners of five straight games, now 25-12 since the All Star Break. Even without Kris Bryant expected in the lineup tonight, the Cubs bats are clicking. They’ve scored 22 runs in the first two games of this series while pounding out six runs or more eight times in their last ten games overall.
That’s bad news for Reds starter Sal Romano. Reds manager Bryan Price has made it clear – he’s not going to pull his young pitchers when they face tough situations, leaving them in to sink or swim. That’s at least part of the reason why Cinci has lost four of Romano’s last five starts by three runs or more. It’s also at least part of the reason why the Reds have allowed six runs or more ten times in their last dozen games. The ‘developing, learning and growing’ part of a young pitcher’s mental makeup isn’t always pretty to watch.
The Reds bullpen behind Romano is completely spent. Three times in their last four games, Cinci’s starting pitcher has been pulled before the end of the fourth inning. The Reds pen leads MLB in innings pitched by a wide margin, and their bullpen ERA is ranked #27 in MLB. There are consistent opportunities to pile on runs late vs. this Reds squad, something the Cubs lineup is quite adept at doing!
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta was a Cy Young winner two years ago, and he won 18 games again last year. But Arrieta struggled early and often over the first half of the campaign, suffering seven losses while compiling an uncharacteristic 4.35 ERA. It’s been a very different story since the All Star Break. Arrieta has notched five wins in seven starts, while allowing two earned runs or less in all seven of those games; an ace level pitcher in dominant current form.
It’s worth noting that Arrieta has owned Cincinnati, holding current Reds to a .205 batting average and a .606 OPS in 146 career at bats against him. In his last outing on this field in early July, Arrieta threw seven innings of one hit shutout ball. No surprise here if he dominates Cinci again tonight in a game that has ‘blowout’ written all over it!