Cincinnati Reds Are The MLB Pick At Home Over Pitiful Phillies

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 6:49 PM GMT

The Phillies and Reds may project to be two of the worst teams in the National League this season, but Cincinnati has a bit more upside and gets our MLB pick call Wednesday.

 

The home favorite seems reasonably priced Wednesday vs. perhaps the worst team in the National League when right-hander Aaron Nola and those pitiful Philadelphia Phillies (0-1, 0-1 away) pay a visit to southpaw Brandon Finnegan the Cincinnati Reds (1-0, 1-0 home) at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, OH at 7:10 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2. The posted money line at Bookmaker has Cincinnati as a moderate home favorite for this contest at current MLB odds of -126.

 

Should Battle for Worst Record Again
The Phillies had the worst record in the Major Leagues last season at 63-99, and if you believe the World Series Future Odds before this season that had Philadelphia as the longest shot on the board, they have a real chance to duplicate that dubious distinction this year.

And the Phils may already on their way after their terrible bullpen that traded away Kenneth Giles to the Astros blew a 2-1 lead by coughing up five runs in the eighth inning on opening day here in Cincinnati Monday, resulting in the 6-2 loss.

Now, the Reds were actually only one game better than the Phillies as MLB picks last season while finishing dead last in the National League Central at 64-98, but this team was so historically bad in clutch situations last season that the offense really has nowhere to go but up, especially with the core of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips still intact.

 

Offense Should Score More Runs
The Cincinnati offense simply looks too potent on paper to finish 26th in the Major Leagues in scoring like it did last year with 3.95 runs per game, especially while playing its home games in the launching pad that is Great American Ball Park. However, that run production was held back by the Reds accumulating the worst historical clutch hitting performance ever recorded, with only one batter owning a slightly positive Clutch Rating.

Furthermore, that one batter was not one of the big boppers that you would expect, but rather the mainly mediocre Eugenio Suarez. The better Cincinnati hitters were so bad in the clutch that it almost has to be an aberration that will never be repeated again, so if we are right in that assessment, then the Reds should go back to being the nice offensive team they had been in recent seasons prior to last year.

The problem for the Reds should be pitching, but their lefty starter tonight in Finnegan does have good potential. Finnegan was part of the great bullpen of the Kansas City Royals, where he owned a 2.96 ERA and a .193 batting average allowed last season when he was traded to the Reds.

Cincinnati converted him to a starter and he allowed three runs or less in three of his four starts for the Reds, although his longest stint was six innings in his final start. Finnegan should now be adequately stretched out and he could not ask for a weaker lineup against whom to make his 2016 debut.

 

Trouble with Left-Handed Batters
Now, one of the few bright spots for the Phillies last year was tonight’s young starter Nola. The 21-year-old was a first round draft choice in the 2014 MLB Draft taken with the seventh pick overall, and he was already in the Major Leagues just one year later when he allowed just one run in his big league debut, en route to going 6-2 pitching for a dreadful Philadelphia team with a 3.59 ERA and 68 strikeouts vs. just 19 walks in 77.2 Major League innings.

All that is well and good, but a deeper look reveals that Nola had severe lefty/righty splits that could hurt him vs. this mostly left-handed Cincinnati lineup that he has never faced before. You see, left-handed batters had a .310 batting average and .360 on-base percentage vs. Nola last season, compared to right-handers batting only .212 with a .260 on-base percentage against him. And do not forget that the collapse of the Philadelphia bullpen in the season opener could be a precursor for how that unit should perform all year.

 

Recent Head-to-Head Dominance
Finally, the win on Monday by the Reds made them a perfect 5-0 in the last five head-to-head meetings with the Phillies overall as well as 6-0 in the last six meeting here in Cincinnati. The Reds are also 51-23 in their last 74 games vs. teams with a winning percentage below .400, while the Phillies are 29-64 in their last 93 road games.

There is a lot to like about the Reds at home in this spot including the very reasonable odds, so back Cincinnati as a moderate favorite hosting Philadelphia at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday.

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Free MLB Pick: Reds -120
Best Line Offered: at Heritage