Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs Pick 9/17/19
Cincinnati Reds (70-81) vs. Chicago Cubs (82-68)
When: 8 p.m., Tuesday, September 17
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago
Moneyline: CIN +143 / CHC -153 (BetOnline)
Runline: Reds +1.5/Cubs -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Sonny Gray (10-7, 2.80 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) vs. Yu Darvish (6-6, 3.97 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
Here’s the biggest question of this series: just how motivated are the Reds going to be? While the Cubs have every reason to want this game, the Reds don’t have anything to play for other than pride and jobs. That’s a great reason to put forth a top individual performance, but it’s not so great when looking to earn a result as a team, especially against a motivated opponent.
Cincinnati simply doesn’t have a goal of its own for this year, because the Reds know that not only will they miss the playoffs, but unless they can run the table, they’re going to finish under .500 for the season. That means its falls to the Reds’ players themselves to determine their motivations and what they’re playing for as they battle Chicago.
Coming Up Empty
If the Cubs are able to make it back to the postseason, Yu Darvish‘s ability to miss bats will be a big reason why. Darvish has seemed to find his stride in the Windy City at last over the past few games, as he’s held the Cubs’ opponents to one run or less in four of his previous five outings. During that stretch, he managed at least seven strikeouts in the contest, including a 14 K performance against San Diego.
However, there’s still one concern with Darvish: all four of those pitching performances came on the road. In the one game where he pitched at home in that setup, the Giants hit him hard, scoring six earned runs and requiring a response to earn a 12-11 victory. Against the Reds, the results weren’t a lot better: Darvish gave up three home runs, and the Cubs ended up with a 5-2 loss.
Shades of Gray
The season has turned sour for Cincinnati, but Sonny Gray certainly can’t be blamed for what’s happened. Over his past ten starts, he’s been remarkably consistent, failing to get through the sixth inning just once and giving his team a chance to win every time it takes the field. Until the loss to the Mariners, the last time Gray had been the losing pitcher dated back to July 17, when Gray held the Cubs to two runs at Wrigley but still ended up on the negative side of the ledger.
However, that’s been his only mark of failure against Chicago this year, as the Reds have beaten the Cubs in each of his other three starts against them. That said, all three of those starts came in Cincinnati.
Which one of these teams is the one chasing a playoff spot? You wouldn’t know it from their season series with each other, as the Reds actually hold a 9-8 lead on the year against Chicago and can win the season series from the Cubs with a win on either Tuesday or Wednesday, which would be their first season victory over the Cubs since 2014. The even series has held in each park, despite Chicago’s fantastic home record and Cincinnati’s road woes. Of the Reds’ 30 wins outside Cincinnati, three have come at Wrigley Field, where the Reds are a respectable 3-4 for the season.
- The Cubs have won their past five contests and past four against the NL Central.
- The Reds are 1-8 in their past nine against the NL Central.
- The Reds are 14-3 in Gray’s last 17 starts against a team above .500.
- The Cubs have won Darvish’s past four home starts.
- The over is 3-1-1 in the teams’ past five meetings.
- The over is 5-0 in the Cubs’ past five against NL Central squads.
Weather ReportFall has arrived in the Midwest, with the temperature in Chicago set to hit 66 degrees at the time of the first pitch.
Dan’s pickBetting on the Reds in this game says one thing: you really believe in Sonny Gray going out and shutting down the Cubs. Otherwise, everything in this contest favors the Cubs. The Reds don’t have anywhere near as much to play for, and the Cubs are playing very well at the moment as they try to nail down that wild card slot. Personally, as good as Gray has been, I cannot see the Cubs blowing a winnable game like this one in the heat of a playoff race. I think Gray pitches well, and the Reds stay in the game long enough for him to end up with a no-decision, but I think the Cubs are going to keep rolling against the NL Central and take another step forward to getting that wild card berth.
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