Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#957 Cincinnati Reds 8 vs.
#958 Chicago Cubs -160
Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 2:20pm EDT
Written by Chris Altruda

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Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

When and Where: Sunday, May 26, Wrigley Field, Chicago, Ill., 2:20 p.m. EDT.

Both Tanner Roark and Jose Quintana failed to pitch well enough to earn victories in the previous series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs. The two get the opportunity for a win over the other Sunday when these NL Central rivals wrap up a three-game series.

Roark out to avoid third straight loss for Reds

Roark (3-3, 3.51) labored through five innings versus Chicago on May 14, giving up three runs and eight hits and done in mostly by counterpart Kyle Hendricks’ two-run double that contributed to his 3-1 defeat.

The right-hander will not have to worry about Quintana as a hitting threat as much as Hendricks — Quintana is 1 for 18 with 10 strikeouts on the season.

Roark did not pitch all that badly against the Los Angeles Dodgers last Sunday, giving up two runs and two hits in five innings, but he was outpitched by Hyun-Jin Ryu in Cincinnati’s 8-3 defeat.

The Reds starter was also visibly upset David Bell opted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth trailing 2-0 rather than give Roark a chance to hit for himself and start the sixth.

“No, I didn’t want to come out,” Roark told the club’s official website. “They had a different plan. Sometimes, everybody’s not happy all the time. On to the next one.”

Roark is 0-1 with a 4.58 ERA in four starts versus division rivals, part of a winless six-start run that dates back to last year. Prior to that drought, the righty had reeled off five wins in as many starts versus NL Central foes.

He is 4-3 with a 3.70 ERA in eight career starts against the Cubs, and the “Friendly Confines” have been just that for Roark — he is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in five starts at Wrigley.

Kris Bryant has been locked in versus Roark, going 7 for 14 with a homer, but Jason Heyward is 0 for 22 lifetime against the righty.

Quintana also looking to avoid third straight loss

Quintana (4-3, 3.30) had a near-similar line to Roark the day after the Reds pitcher lost, giving up three runs and six hits in five innings. The left-hander was his own worst enemy in Cincinnati’s three-run fifth, allowing a solo homer and a run to score on a wild pitch before yielding an RBI single.

Quintana deserved a better fate than the no-decision he got Tuesday versus Philadelphia. He scattered two hits and three walks in six shutout innings before the Cubs’ bullpen squandered a two-run lead in their eventual 3-2 walk-off win.

The southpaw is 2-3 with a 5.20 ERA in five starts versus division rivals, though his earned run average is inflated by the eight runs he yielded in three innings against Milwaukee on April 24. Quintana has split six decisions in seven starts versus Cincinnati since joining the Cubs in 2017, posting a 3.93 ERA.

Joey Votto has given Quintana fits, going 8 for 17 with four doubles.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Quintana has a 2.32 ERA over his last eight starts and pitched well at home, going 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in five starts at Wrigley.

The Cubs look to be finding a groove as they currently lead the NL Central, and after dropping two of three at Cincinnati less than two weeks ago, should return the favor in the rubber game here.

Prediction: Cubs -1.5 runs (+125)

Full-Game Total Pick

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The wind is blowing in off Lake Michigan, which means the under is the lean — aided by Quintana’s home form and Roark’s track record at Wrigley.

The under has gone 17-5 in Cincinnati’s last 22 road games versus left-handed starters and 15-6-1 in its last 22 on the road against above-.500 teams. The under is also 5-2 in Quintana’s last seven starts when he is coming off a quality start in the previous outing.

Prediction: UNDER 7.5 runs (-121)

Full-Game Prop Bet

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This is a confidence pick in Quintana’s home form carrying this game, but this is also a very iffy pick given the Reds have scored 12 runs in the first two games of this series. With the wind blowing in plus Quintana getting ground-ball outs at a career-best pace, the pick is the under for the Reds.

Prediction: Reds UNDER 3 runs (-115)

First Five Innings Side Pick

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This is a confidence pick in Quintana despite him trailing 3-2 at Cincinnati when he faced the Reds. That was the only start of the left-hander’s last eight he allowed more than two runs in the first five innings, and the Cubs have also led after five innings in six of their last seven contests overall.

Prediction: Cubs -0.5 runs (+115)

First Five Innings Total Bet

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The five-inning under has delivered in four of Quintana’s last five starts at home and in six of Roark’s last eight starts overall. The Reds righty also got the under to hit in his start versus Chicago earlier this month, and while the number is low, the expectation is both starters will be effective enough to make it happen here.

Prediction: UNDER 4 runs (-125)

First Five Innings Prop Prediction

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An aggressive pick, but one worth taking considering Quintana has allowed exactly one run in the first three innings of his five home starts this year. He also kept the Reds in check earlier this month until the fifth inning.

Prediction: Reds UNDER 0.5 runs first 3 innings (+111)

Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.