Atlanta (McCarthy) -118 at Cincinnati (Mahle) O/U 8.5
The Cincinnati Reds are a true bottom feeder sitting dead last in MLB with a 4-18 record and one thing I’m not about to do is trust this horrible squad to win two games in a row which is something they have yet to accomplish this season. I’m not convinced the recent firing of manager Bryan Price will do all that much to provide a spark for this lowly team. It has been a combination of horrible pitching and an underachieving offense that has led to the Cincinnati woes and at the forefront of it all is Joey Votto’s struggles at the plate with the Reds star player completely falling off the map so far this season in terms of his power numbers at the dish. Cincinnati enjoyed a very rare win last night defeating Atlanta 10-4 in the series opener but I believe the Braves have a good chance to bounce right back with a win tonight. Brandon McCarthy takes the mound for Atlanta in this game tonight and the veteran righty has been solid for them with a 2.91 ERA allowing 2 runs or less in three of his four starts notching 8 walks and 18 strikeouts in those outings. His 50% groundball rate is something I like to see pitching in this type of extreme hitter friendly ballpark and Atlanta is 4-0 this season when McCarthy has taken the hill. Prior to last night’s outburst, the scuffling Reds lineup was held to 7 runs combined during a 5 game losing streak and I think McCarthy given his current form can neutralize a very suspect Cincinnati lineup in this game. On the flip side, Tyler Mahle gets the nod for Cincinnati and he’s struggled big time with a 5.14 ERA and his FIP being right in line with it at 5.51 indicates there is nothing phoney about his difficulties. Mahle has a very low 38.7% groundball rate and his 22.7% home runs per fly ball percentage is simply not good for anyone that regularly pitches at Great American Ballpark. He’s given up 5 home runs over his last 15 innings of work. I don’t trust Mahle to shut down this Atlanta lineup and behind him is the dreadful Cincinnati bullpen which is currently the worst pen in MLB with a 5.33 ERA so Atlanta should have the ability to score runs early and late in tonight’s game. Atlanta has done a great job bouncing back after a loss this season entering tonight at 7-1 in 8 games following a loss. This is now a very cheap price hovering around -120 to back the better team and I have no problems stepping in and taking advantage.