The Cincinnati Reds (16-17) will face the Pittsburgh Pirates (15-20) to close out a three-game series on Wednesday, which is probably music to the ears of Pirates players and fans. Pittsburgh has lost four of the first five games of this season series by a combined 30 runs, including a 14-1 defeat on Monday. Pittsburgh has been one of baseball’s weaker teams so far this season, as was to be expected, but they’ve been particularly dismal against their division rival, Cincinnati.
Free Picks: Cincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates
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Sonny Gray is not the man the Pittsburgh Pirates want to see right now. On one hand, Gray enters Wednesday’s matchup without a win in four starts this season. But on the other hand, he’s been excellent against the Pirates of late and should be able to add a notch to his win column quite soon.
Gray has won his past three starts against Pittsburgh and is pitching to a 2.96 ERA over his past five. The Cincinnati right-hander is also coming off his best start of the season, throwing seven scoreless innings while striking out eight in a no-decision against a talented White Sox team.
His presence on the mound — as well as Cincinnati’s general dominance of Pittsburgh so far this season — explains why the Reds are steep -161 money line favorites (10Bet) among the day’s MLB picks. The Pirates are +135 money line underdogs (10Bet), having lost seven of their past 10.
A microcosm of the mismatch between the Reds and Pirates played out Monday night, when Cincinnati stormed away with a 14-1 win (their second win by such a score already this season against Pittsburgh). The Reds won the hits battle, 15-5, and led by six runs before the fourth inning was even finished. They were just flexing some offensive muscle, which they have plenty of, as evidenced by their National-League-leading .758 OPS. They’re also leading the majors in runs scored per game (5.34).
The man in charge of stopping that offense on Wednesday is Pittsburgh starter Trevor Cahill (1-4, 6.75 ERA), and we’re really not sure he can. Cahill has had very noticeable ups and downs this season; in his six starts, he has allowed five-plus runs on three occasions and just one run on two occasions. He worst start of the year, though, came against these same Reds: He allowed seven runs on nine hits in four innings, taking the loss in the process.
So with that knowledge in mind, Gray and the Reds are in excellent position to come away with a victory on Wednesday. We certainly like them as money line favorites in this BetPicks prediction. But you might want to consider going a step further and taking Cincinnati as a -1.5 run line favorite (+110 at 10Bet). All four of the Reds’ wins over Pittsburgh so far this season have come by two or more runs, and they’re averaging nearly nine runs as a margin of victory.
- Cincinnati is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
- The OVER has cashed in six of the Reds’ past 10 games
- Pittsburgh is 3-7 on the money line in its past 10
- The UNDER has cashed in six of the Pirates’ past 10 games
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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).