The Cincinnati Reds are just about ready to fold their tents. But they've got slightly better baseball odds for Game 2 of Wednesday's doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs.
Jason's 2015 record as of July 20: 34-25, plus-9.41 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
At least the Cincinnati Reds gave it the old college try. They could have easily sleepwalked their way through the 2015 campaign, going into the season as 50-1 long shots on the World Series futures market at Bovada. Instead, the Reds find themselves at 41-49 (–9.94 units), not hopelessly awful, but not good enough to compete for a playoff spot.
Compare and contrast with the Chicago Cubs (49-42, +2.20 units), who were 16-1 to win the World Series back in March, and are still 16-1 on the MLB odds board despite sitting in third place in the double-tough NL Central. The Cubs will get two cracks at Cincinnati this Wednesday; we're looking at Game 2 (6:10 p.m. ET), where both teams are floating around –115 as we go to press.
Start Me Up
The Reds figure to be sellers at the trade deadline, with ace pitcher Johnny Cueto expected to be dealt to a contender by July 31. Good timing, then, for southpaw Tony Cingrani (3.83 FIP) to come off the DL and pitch for the first time in over a month. Cingrani was being converted into a reliever earlier this year, which made sense given that he throws his fastball about 80 percent of the time. But Cingrani wasn't quite good enough in that role, nor was he happy about it, so back to the starting rotation for now. Expect him to be on a very tight pitch count Wednesday night; Cincy had better not use too many relievers in Game 1 after burning through five of them in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to Chicago (–116 away) over 13 innings.
Dallas Beeler, You're My Hero
The Cubs will use this doubleheader to showcase one of their lesser-known commodities in rookie Dallas Beeler (3.30 lifetime FIP). This will be just his fourth start in the bigs and his second this year; two weeks ago, Beeler pitched five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals (–103 away), also in the second game of a doubleheader, and allowed two runs in Chicago's 5-3 victory. Beeler isn't one of the Cubs' top prospects, though, and posted a 4.37 FIP in 14 starts this year at AAA-Iowa. M'eh.
With Cingrani returning from a strained left shoulder and getting his first MLB start since last year, we're thinking this is a good opportunity to scoop up a Cubs batter off the waiver wire. Did we mention that current Cubbies have a combined .903 OPS against Cingrani? Delicious. This might be the right time to kick the tires on OF Dexter Fowler (.689 OPS), who's obviously not the same hitter since leaving the Colorado Rockies and Coors Field. But Fowler is 4-for-12 with seven walks and a stolen base since the All-Star break, and he's 1-for-2 lifetime against Cingrani. The small sample size klaxon has been sounded.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Cubs +110 at Sports Interaction