The Cincinnati Reds are one of the hottest teams in the Majors and head on the road for the first time of the year when they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. The Red will give the starting call to Tyler Mahle, and the Diamondbacks will reply with Taylor Widener in their home opener.
Reds Offense Shines, Mahle Earns Win
Tyler Mahle will make his second start of the season to kick off this series. Mahle was solid in his opening start, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits in five innings against the Cardinals in a 9-6 Reds victory. The young right-hander is looking to build on a stellar 2020 season that resulted in a 3.59 ERA and a career-best 1.15 WHIP in 47 innings. Mahle has only made one career start against the Diamondbacks and allowed five runs in 4.1 innings.
The Reds are enjoying a very promising start to the season which is a welcome sight considering they were not able to recover from a poor start in 2020. They lost the season opener to St. Louis and have since won six consecutive games propelled by a barrage of runs.
It’s been a remarkable span of games at the plate for Tyler Naquin who joins the Reds after spending his entire career with Cleveland. The 29-year old right fielder is 6 for 19 with four dingers along with an incredible 13 RBI’s at the plate this season which included a seven RBI performance earlier this week. Naquin is batting in the leadoff spot.
Cincinnati is averaging a Major League-best 9.50 runs per game. They feature a 3.83 team ERA, landing them 13th overall.
Widener Dazzles in Debut, Arizona Handed Another Loss
The D-Backs will have Taylor Widener make his second start of the season to open this series. Widener was brilliant in his season debut, last week tossing six shutout innings and fanned five batters against the strong Padres' offense in a 3-1 victory. The second-year right-hander had a promising 2020 season, filing a 4.50 ERA and a solid 1.30 WHIP in 20 innings pitched out of the bullpen.
Arizona opened the year with a seven-game road trip which began with a series loss in San Diego followed by another series defeat in Colorado to land at 2-5. The D-Backs have already been shut out twice this season.
Arizona is counting on a big season from David Peralta after collecting 37 RBI’s in 57 games last year however he has yet to find his swing this year. The 30-year old first baseman is hitting .200 with only two RBI’s on the season. Peralta went just 2 for 19 against the Reds in 2019. Ketel Marte and Kole Calhoun remain out of the lineup.
Arizona has been inconsistent at the plate early this season and is averaging 3.67 runs per game, placing them 21st in the Majors. They enter with a poor 5.17 team ERA, placing them 28th overall.
The Cincinnati Reds are:
- 5-0 in their last 5 games overall.
- 6-1 in their last 7 games against a team with a losing record.
- 7-0 in their last 7 games against a team with a winning % below .400.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are:
- 2-9 in their last 11 games against a team with a winning % above .600.
- 9-20 in their last 29 games against a right-handed starter.
- 13-27 in their last 40 games overall.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Reds are red-hot and have won five straight games. They won two of three over the Cardinals and earned a three-game sweep over the Pirates before enjoying an off-day on Thursday. Cincy leads the Majors in runs and has accumulated nine or more runs in four out of their last five games overall.
Furthermore, the D-Backs are playing without Ketel Marte who has been their top hitter. Reds’ starter Tyler Mahle is a solid pitcher. The right-hander posted a 3.59 ERA in 2020 and held the strong Cardinals lineup to just two runs in his season-opening start. Arizona has only won two out of their seven games this season and the Reds should deliver them another defeat.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Reds’ hot offense has led to the over converting in all but one of their games this season. They scored 27 runs in three games against St. Louis and feasted on a poor Pirates pitching staff this week with 30 runs. Cincinnati’s hot offense should produce against D-Backs' starter Taylor Widener. The over is 4-1 in the Reds’ last five games as a favorite.
In addition, the Diamondbacks’ offense should generate some offense. They have scored a combined 13 runs in their last three clashes overall. The over is 4-1 in Arizona’s last five home games.
Full-Game Prop Bet
I recommend a play on the Reds team total. The Cincinnati offense leads the Majors in several categories including a dazzling 1 OPS. Arizona gave up 20 runs in four games against the Padres in their first series and a whopping 23 runs in three clashes against the Rockies.
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
I am taking the Reds to score first. The Reds are dangerous in the first inning so far this season. They have now scored seven runs in six games in the first inning. Also, Arizona has only scored a combined four runs through innings 1-3 this season.