Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs Preview and Pick

Cincinnati Reds (69-82) +145 at Chicago Cubs (79-73), 8:05 pm Eastern Wednesday, ESPN
by Zman of

The first-place Chicago Cubs host the spoiler Cincinnati Reds for the rubber match of a three-game series Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

After Chicago rallied for three run in the bottom of the ninth inning to take the opener of this series Monday night 7-6, Cincinnati held on for a 5-2 win Tuesday night. The loss, combined with a Milwaukee win down in Houston, dropped the Cubs into a first-place tie with the Brewers in the National League’s Central Division.

Cincy sits in fourth place in the Central, 9 games back out of the lead with
less than two weeks remaining in the regular season.

But its the Reds who lead the season series with the Cubs this year eight games to six, with the o/u going 6-7-1.

The Reds are 31-45 on the road this season, while Chicago is 40-37 at home.

Thirty-year old rookie Tom Shearn (3-0, 4.15) gets the start for Cincy Wednesday night vs. lefty Ted Lilly (15-7, 3.82) for the Cubs.

Shearn has made four starts for the Reds this season, all in the last month. He’s allowed nine ER and 26 baserunners over 24 IP, and Cincinnati is 3-1 in those starts, the o/u 3-1. This will be Shearn’s first start against the Cubs.

In his three most recent starts, Lilly has given up seven ER and 18 baserunners in 19 2/3 IP, and Chicago has won all three games. On the season, the Cubbies are 18-13 in Lilly’s starts, the o/u 16-12.

Lilly has started three games vs. the Reds this season, allowing eight ER and 15 baserunners in 18 IP. But Chicago only won one of those three games.

The Reds own a .337 team OBP this season, which ranks 11th in the majors, and are averaging 4.9 runs per game.

Chicago owns a .332 team OBP, which ranks 18th in the league, and is averaging 4.6 RPG.

The Cincy bullpen has given up seven ER and 18 baserunners over its last 13 IP.

The Cubs pen has allowed four ER and 22 baserunners in its last 19 innings of work.

The o/u is 83-62 in Reds games this year, 62-80 in Chicago games, and 38-37 at Wrigley Field, where games are averaging 9.5 runs per this season.

The Cubs opened up as about a -170 favorite for Wednesday’s game, but that figure has dropped at least a nickel at most sportsbooks. And as usual, no total will be placed on this Wrigley Field game until a few hours before the first pitch.

Zman’s Pick: Under 9 runs.