The Cincinnati Reds (21-29, 28-22 RL, 27-23 O/U) battle the Chicago Cubs (22-27, 27-22 RL, 24-23-1 O/U) in the first of a three-game NL Central series on Friday afternoon. The Reds will give the nod to Hunter Greene. The Cubs will counter with ace Justin Steele. The season series is 1-1.
Greene Starts, Reds Begin Road Trip
The Reds will have Hunter Greene on the mound to begin the series. Greene was competitive in his latest start, conceding four runs including two home runs in seven innings against the Yankees, and was charged with another loss. The right-hander had a great April where he posted a 2.19 ERA but has hit a rut this month and his ERA has dipped to 4.68 along with 1.50 WHIP and an 0-4 record in 50 innings pitched. Greene made three starts against the Cubs last year and allowed eight runs with a 2-1 record in 15 innings.
The Reds are beginning a six-game road trek in this one. They are a decent 3-3 in their last six road clashes but have been one of the worst road teams in the Major Leagues, standing eight games below the .500 mark. The Reds won two of home four meetings against the Cardinals this week and are 3-7 in their last ten games.
Newman!@OfficialKBN pic.twitter.com/KVSaq25tC1— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 24, 2023
Spencer Steer is swinging a hot bat, amassing six RBIs in his last six games, and sporting a marvelous .860 OPS on the month. The 25-year-old third baseman is having an outstanding rookie season, posting 22 RBIs and a .800 OPS. He is 2 for 7 against the Cubs this season.
Cincinnati is averaging 4.41 runs per game, ranking them 15th. The pitching continues to be exploited and has a poor 5.06 team ERA, pegging them 28th.
Steele Registers Another Gem
Justin Steele will make the start to begin the series. Steele rebounded from a bad outing with a stellar performance last time out, completing six shutout innings against the Phillies but received no help from the bats and finished with a no-decision in a game the Cubs lost. The young ace is an early Cy Young candidate, registering a minuscule 2.20 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP accompanied by a 6-1 record in 61.1 innings pitched. Steele has trouble against the Reds, conceding 17 runs (16 earned) in 19 career innings.
Chicago has been regressing after a strong April. They have lost four of their last five series due primarily to bad pitching. They dropped two of three against the Phillies last weekend and rebounded with a series victory against the Mets this week and stand at 3-7 in their last 10 bouts.
3-run third gives the Cubs the lead! pic.twitter.com/D6asWgK8NA— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 25, 2023
Seiya Suzuki continues to deliver, clubbing four homers with seven RBIs in his last seven games. The 28-year-old slugger now has 19 RBIs and a stellar .873 OPS on the season. He posted eight RBIs against the Reds last year and did not play in the first series against the Reds. Cody Bellinger remains on the IL.
Chicago is scoring an average of 4.81 runs on the season, good for 11th. The pitching staff has reported a 4.08 team ERA, placing them 13th.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Cincinnati Reds are one of the worst road teams in the big leagues, winning just seven of their 22 road decisions on the season. The Cubs have momentum after earning a series win against the Mets this week and have won three of their last four home games.
Furthermore, Reds’ starter Hunter Greene is having a disappointing season. He has served up a whopping seven home runs in his last four starts and has recorded a brutal 6.95 ERA this month. Cubs’ starter Justin Steele is a Cy Young candidate and has been untouchable at Wrigley Field where he is sporting a minuscule 1.48 ERA complemented by a 4-0 record.
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect this one to go over. The Chicago pitching has been exploited in recent weeks. They have allowed an average of 6.6 runs in their last ten games. While Steele is solid, the bullpen is an issue, ranking 22nd. The Reds are producing at the dish, collecting 22 runs in their last four games.
In addition, the Cubs' bats will have a big game. Hunter Greene has not been able to find a groove and has not been sharp against the Cubs, posting a weak 4.80 ERA in 15 career innings against the rivals. The over is a convincing 10-2-1 in the Cubs' last 13 games overall.