Roy Oswalt is an incredible 19-1 lifetime vs. the Reds, but he is making his first start off the DL and was having an off year anyway. Back Cueto and the better bullpen.
Roy Oswalt of the Houston Astros is 19-1 in 24 career appearances against his opponent tonight, the Cincinnati Reds, but he is making his first start since being disabled with a hip injury, and the fact that the Houston bullpen is expected to be called on early makes the Astros a dicey proposition as favorites.
[articleBanner]who2beton[/articleBanner]Besides, Oswalt was not having a typical season even before the injury, as he is just 7-8 with an uncharacteristic 4.56 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. While he is certainly better than that, he will not get a chance to fully prove that tonight since he will undoubtedly be on a pitch count, and the Astros bullpen ranks fifth from the bottom out of 30 major league teams with a 4.35 ERA.
Now Johnny Cueto has virtually identical numbers to Oswalt this year, as he is 7-9 with a 4.90 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. That in itself give the Reds value as big dogs, but they gain even more value when you consider that Cueto has more upside, looking downright dominant at times this year, and that Cincinnati has the far superior bullpen, ranking ninth in the majors with a 3.53 ERA.
Given that we do not expect Oswalt to be dominant in his first start back, we actually feel that the Reds have the pitching edge here after you factor in the bullpens, making them an easy call at this price.
Free Pick: Reds +135