A pair of National League rivals square off in a primetime battle in Goodyear, Arizona with The Reds hosting the Rockies. First pitch is set for 10:05 PM with Mat Latos going for the Reds', while the Rockies will counter with Matt White.

Sportsbooks opened with the Reds, who have lost five straight, as the -135 MLB odds favorites with Colorado at +115. Early betting action has seen the lines tighten, as most MLB betting shops are now listing Cincinnati at -120.

Will the lines continue to shorten for this matchup, and if so, when and where should we place our MLB picks?

Rockies vs. RedsThe Rockies (7-6) who are coming off a 7-5 win over the Cubs on Thursday got a solid performance from starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin. The hard-throwing righthander--who is expected to be the Rockies’ No. 2 starter—worked three scoreless innings before leaving with a blister on his right index finger. He threw 44 pitches, 28 for strikes and the Rockies say he’ll make his next start.

With the trade of Ubaldo Jiminez to the Indians, Chacin became the Rockies top pitcher in 2010. He led the team in wins (11), ERA (3.62) and WHIP (1.310. However he finished the season going 0-4 and costing his backers -472 dollars.

For the Reds, starter Johnny Cueto looked a bit shaky early, but he settled down to allow two runs (one earned) in four innings. Cueto allowed four hits in the first two frames, but held the Angels hitless in the last two, with a pair of strikeouts in the fourth.

Reds yo-yo man

Cincinnati reliever Aroldis Chapman threw three innings Wednesday against the San Diego Padres. The biggest surprise was that he started He started the game which is a rare occurrence for the fireballing lefty. He threw strikes and unveiled a new split-fingered fastball.  Those were the plusses but what has the Reds concerned is his drop in velocity. He was clocked at between 92 and 95 miles per hour against the Padres a sharp drop the 98 mph he averaged last year.

What to do? After spending the entire offseason promoting him as a starter, the Reds are now sounding he’ll be in the bullpen due to injuries. Is there any wonder that guys like Chapman and Joba Chamberlain get so fouled up. It’s the rare individual who can start and relieve and remain the same the same pitcher.

Injury Bug

With about three weeks remaining until the start of the regular season, the Reds bullpen is in bad shape. If the campaign were to start today, Cincinnati’s projected seven-man bullpen – would be without closer Ryan Madson and setup men Nick Masset and Bill Bray.

Madson, who signed a one-year, $8.5 million contract with an $11 million mutual option for 2013 to be the teams closer, was shut down from throwing at the end of February because of irritation in his right elbow.

Masset was last seen in a game on March 7, when he departed in the middle of an inning with right shoulder soreness. He was shut down for several days, but has resumed throwing. He had an issue-free bullpen session on Wednesday.

Bray who led the team with 79 appearances last year has been slowed by a sore grain.

Notes on a scorecard

Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is on a spring training tear. The slugging lefthander is hitting .529 (9 for 17) with a home run and six runs driven in.

49-year old Jamie Moyer continues his comeback bid. Through his first two Cactus League starts he’s allowed just one run on four hits and no walks. He strained his push off leg in a Minor League game and has been shut down for a few days. The injury isn’t expected to be serious.