MLB Betting Insights & Free Pick: Cueto Just Not The Same After Joining Giants

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 5:31 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 3, 2016 5:31 PM UTC

Two pitchers that were traded for each other last season square off in Cincinnati Monday night, and it could be a relatively high scoring affair when the Giants visit the Reds. MLB pick here. 


There could be a deflated total in a pronounced hitter’s park Monday night when two pitchers that were traded for each other last year face off, as right-hander Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants (13-13, 5-7 away) pay a visit to southpaw Brandon Finnegan and the Cincinnati Reds (10-15, 8-5 home) at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, OH at 7:10 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Ohio.

The posted total at BetOnline is 7½ for this contest with the current MLB odds on the ‘over’ set at -115.


Neither Team Impressing
The Giants were the favorites to win the National League West prior to the season thanks to the additions of starters Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, but they have been disappointingly treading water at 13-13 although that is remarkably good enough to currently be in a three-way tie atop the division along with the 13-13 Los Angeles Dodgers and the surprising 12-12 Colorado Rockies.

The Reds meanwhile figured to be a bit better after finishing just one game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies for the worst record in baseball last year, and it did seem they were on the right track when they opened this season at 9-9. But they were then the losing MLB picks in six games in a row before ending the streak with a 6-5 win in 10 innings vs. the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Sunday. At 10-15, Cincinnati is fourth in the NL Central eight games behind the Cubs.


Cueto Not The Same After Leaving Reds
Cueto finished second in the National League Cy Young Award voting two years ago and he was off to another good start last year when the Reds went into rebuilding mode, trading him to the Kansas City Royals for several youngsters including tonight’s starting pitcher Finnegan. And although Cueto pitched well in the World Series for the Royals, he mostly struggled in a Kansas City uniform going 4-7 with a fat 4.76 ERA during the regular season.

Undeterred, the Giants then signed Cueto as a free agent after last season and he is now closer to his old self in a San Francisco uniform, as he is 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 33 strikeouts and just five walks in 37.1 innings. Furthermore his last start was his best of the young season as Cueto pitched a Complete Game shutout allowing seven hits and striking out 11 vs. one walk against the San Diego Padres.

However there are a couple of red flags, starting with the fact that he needed 119 pitches to complete that shutout, which is easily a season-high and a lot of pitches to be throwing this early in the year, so a “bounce” tonight is entirely possible. Secondly, three of his five starts including the last two have come in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, and he is now pitching in a hitter’s park vs. a Cincinnati offense that knows him well and showed some good signs yesterday.

Thus, Cueto’s streak of going seven innings in all five starts with the Giants could be in jeopardy, and the San Francisco bullpen is only 23rd in the Major Leagues with a 4.42 ERA.


Finnegan Shows Promise But Lacks Stamina
Finnegan was a key piece to the Cueto trade for the Reds and he is now a full-time starter for the first time in his Major League career. And the early returns have been encouraging as Finnegan has a respectable 3.86 ERA through five starts while allowing three runs or less in four of them, as the ERA is skewed by the one bad outing where he allowed five earned runs in four innings He even had a start where he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning vs. the Cubs.

He did allow a hit in the seventh inning that night before getting pulled after recording two more outs, with those 6.2 innings being a season-high. It is not surprising that a converted reliever does not yet have the stamina to work deeply into games, but that takes in added significance for the Reds as the Cincinnati bullpen is dead last in all of baseball with a horrific 6.16 ERA!

Finnegan has never faced the Giants during the regular season, but he did face them during the 2014 World Series in relief while with the Royals with disastrous results, as he was the losing pitcher in Game 4 after getting lit up for five runs on five hits plus two walks in just one inning.


Both Teams ‘over’ Friendly So Far
Finally, both of these teams have been ‘over’ friendly so far, as it is 14-9 in all Reds’ games, thanks to playing their home games at Great American Ball Park where their contests have averaged a combined 9.62 runs, as well as 16-10 in all Giants’ games with their road contests averaging a whopping 10.00 runs!

Expect those trends to continue for at least one more night here with this posted total set fairly low, especially when taking these bullpens into consideration, so go ‘over’ when San Francisco visits Cincinnati on Monday.

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Free MLB Pick: Over 7½ (-115)
Best Line Offered: at YouWager 
MLB Record: 12-15-1, -1.67

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