The Cincinnati Reds will host the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday in the second game of their three-game series. These Diamondbacks took two of three head-to-head games over the Reds in Phoenix when these teams met April 9-11. This preview was written before these teams completed their game on Tuesday night.
Hot starts for Escobar and Kelly power DiamondbacksAfter going 25-35 last season, which was last in the NL West, Arizona entered the season with an over/under win total set at 74.5. The year has expected to get off to a rough start. The Diamondbacks entered Tuesday with a 6-10 record, fourth in the division, 6.5 games behind the Dodgers for first place.
The Diamondbacks are 10th with 4.6 runs per game, 19th with a .223 batting average, and sixth hammering 1.4 home runs per game. Leading the way is Eduardo Escobar, batting .241 with a team-best six home runs and 11 RBI on the season. Catcher Carson Kelly is also off to a hot start batting .400 with three homers, six RBI, and a 1.303 OPS in 11 games and 30 at-bats this season. Carson broke into the big leagues with St. Louis in 2016 and is a .230 lifetime hitter who has only hit more than five home runs in a season once.
Merrill Kelly is scheduled to make a start against the Reds on Wednesday. Kelly allowed nine hits and six runs in six innings of an 11-6 road win against Washington on Thursday. Last season, Kelly went 3-2 with a 2.59 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in five starts, but this year is 1-2 with an 8.44 ERA and 1.69 ERA in three starts. Kelly faced the Reds once in his career, during his rookie season in 2019. He allowed three hits in seven shutout innings and earned the win that game.
Reds lead in MLB in scoringThe Cincinnati Reds went 31-29 last season and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2013. The Reds were swept in the National League Wild Card Series in two games, falling to the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in 13 innings in Game 1 and 5-0 in Game 2. The Cincinnati Reds entered the season with 35/1 odds to win the World Series and an over/under win total set at 81.5.
You ever dig up a box of old pictures and think you see a ghost in one of the photos? pic.twitter.com/VCBCCtWR67— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 19, 2021
The Reds entered this series with a 9-6 record. After winning five of their first six games, the Reds cooled off a little and lost four out of their next five games. However, the Reds did bounce back to take two games in a three-game series at home against Cleveland over the weekend.
The Reds lead all of MLB, averaging 6.1 runs and 1.6 home runs per game. The Reds are also fourth, batting .262 as a team. Several Reds players are off to sensational offensive starts, led by Tyler Naquin, agreat early-season surprise with a .354 on-base percentage with six homers and 15 RBI. The Reds will be without Nick Castellanos, who is serving a two-game suspension for his role in an on-field incident. Castellanos is batting .295 with a team-best five home runs and has 10 RBI.
Tyler Mahle will get the start for the Reds on Wednesday. He went 2-2 with a 3.59 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP in 10 games and nine starts last season. This season, Mahle is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA and 1.00 ERA. Mahle faced the Diamondbacks on April 9 and threw four shutout innings, allowing no hits but four walks in an eventual 6-5 Reds extra-innings victory.
- Diamondbacks are 1-5 in Kelly's last 6 road starts vs. a team with a winning record.
- Reds are 8-1 in their last 9 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Reds are 5-1 in Mahle's last 6 starts.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Cincinnati lost the series to Arizona over a week ago but should have a better outcome this time around with the home-field advantage. The Reds are 7-2 at Great American Ballpark this season, and they will be facing Merill Kelly, who has struggled on the road this season and throughout his career. Cincinnati has also played well when Tyler Mahle has started recently, winning his last four home starts. With the high money line juice, take Cincinnati to cover the run line on Wednesday.
Full-Game Total Pick
Merrill Kelly has not been a much worse pitcher on the road on his career than when he is at home. Kelly has a 3.33 ERA in 18 career home starts, but he will be facing the Reds on the road Wednesday and has a 5.43 ERA in 22 career road starts.
Although Mahle has been solid this season, he does not pitch deep into games. Mahle has not gone past five innings yet this season, and the Reds have allowed at least five runs in two of his first three starts. With the Reds and Diamondbacks among the top six home run hitting teams in baseball, I like the over here.