Last year, the Chicago Cubs won an MLB-best 103 games and finished 35.5 games ahead of last-place Cincinnati in the NL Central. However, the Reds entered this week ahead of Chicago in the NL Central. Who saw that coming? From what we’ve seen this season, the Cubs haven’t been at their best so far. They’re coming off a 3 game weekend series against the St. Louis Cardinals, losing at 1-2. For the Reds, it’s wasn’t a good weekend either. They faced they San Francisco Giants in a losing effort, ending the series at 1-3. The Cubs will be betting favorites for Game 2 of their series on Wednesday.
Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs MLB Betting Preview & Game Info
Off day hangs. pic.twitter.com/yJATQcXJ5A
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 15, 2017
When: Wednesday, May 17, 8:05 PM ET
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago
Probable pitchers (away/home): Scott Feldman/Kyle Hendricks
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Radio: Cincinnati / Chicago
Opening MLB Lines: Cubs favored by TBA
Why Bet On Cincinnati?
Amir Garrett will rejoin the Reds’ rotation this week. The club hasn’t decided whether it will be in Chicago against the Cubs or at home versus the Rockies, but Garrett will be back sometime this week. The Reds optioned the young left-hander to Triple-A Louisville earlier this month as a means to reduce his workload. The Reds don’t have great starting pitching depth. Last season, Cincinnati used 15 starting pitchers. Nine starters have already been needed in 2017, and none of them have been veterans Anthony DeSclafani or Homer Bailey.
Monitor the status of Reds shortstop Zack Cosart for this game. He was not in the lineup against the Giants for the second straight game Sunday because of soreness in his left wrist, manager Bryan Price said. “He’s had this before. I think we’re all in agreement that it’s not going to get better if he’s taking four or five at-bats,” Price said. Cozart leads National League shortstops with a .995 OPS and .336 batting average. He has the best OPS+ among NL shortstops, significantly ahead of Corey Seager. Those two are the only shortstops producing at an above-average level at the plate.
It’s veteran right-hander Scott Feldman (2-3, 3.59) on the mound. Feldman allowed two runs over seven innings Friday in a no-decision against the Giants. Feldman is getting some strong defensive support and has been a little lucky in the home run department.
With a 2-3 record Feldman has produced close to what the Reds expected overall, but how he has gotten there hasn’t gone as planned. Through his first six starts as a Red, Feldman was 1-3 with an ERA of 4.83. Six starts into the season, Feldman was averaging 5 1/3 innings per start as the pitcher who was supposed to be the workhorse. During those starts, he only pitched 31 innings, but gave up 15 walks. Those, in turn, raised his WHIP to an unsustainable 1.42.
Why Bet On Chicago?
The Cubs need to get Kyle Schwarber going. He finished 0-for- 3 with a strikeout and a walk Sunday in the Cubs’ loss to the Cardinals. Schwarber has gone hitless in four straight games and is now batting just .179/.313/.343 in 160 plate appearances this season. Cubs manager Joe Maddon might need to consider a change at leadoff.
“I don’t think the leadoff spot has really changed what’s been going on,” Schwarber said of his struggles. “I squared some balls and wasn’t able to get a hit. It’s part of the game. It’s baseball. That’s why it’s a game of failure, and you have to learn from your mistakes and go with the good. It’s a crazy game. It can put you in a great place. It can put you in a bad place. You just try to stay in the middle.”
Maddon said Sunday that Jason Heyward (finger) is likely to be activated soon after he’s eligible on Tuesday. Heyward is coming back from a sprained finger on his right hand but resumed swinging a bat this weekend and it apparently went well.
The Cubs’ run prevention problems are worse than they superficially appear since their solid team ERA doesn’t account for their MLB-high total of unearned runs. It’s 2016 NL ERA champion Kyle Hendricks for the Cubs. Hendricks (2-2) went 6.1 innings in Colorado on Wednesday, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out seven, but he was stuck with the loss anyway. Hendricks had the poor fortune of being on the wrong end of an ultra-rare Coors Field shutout, but he still delivered another quality outing, continuing to put his early-April struggles in the past. The 27-year-old righty’s ERA is down to 3.40, which is probably a closer approximation of his true level than that 2.13 mark from last year.
He is looking for his first win at home. Last year, Hendricks was 9-2 at Wrigley Field with a 1.32 ERA.
Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs MLB Betting Pick: Cubs
The Cubs have owned the Reds the past couple of years.