Cincinnati Reds (23-46) vs. San Francisco Giants (38-31)
The Cincinnati Reds will open their six-game road trip with a tilt against the San Francisco at Oracle Park on Friday, June 24. They spend the previous two series at home but were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants, on the other hand, returned home from a seven-game road trip and will play the next eight games at home, including this three-game series against the Reds.
These National League rivals met three times this season, and Cincinnati won two of those games. The Giants are firm -200 favorites in this one, while the total is set at 7.5 runs.
Reds returned to losing waysThe Cincinnati Reds have the weakest record in the National League and that likely won’t change after this series in San Francisco. The Reds lost the last seven games and were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers at home. They improved a bit in mid-late May but now returned to the form from the start of the season.
Hunter Greene dropped to a 3-8 record after failing to contain red-hot Dodgers batters in five innings. The rookie pitcher allowed six runs (three homers) on nine hits with three strikeouts and two walks. The game produced even 29 hits (16-13 for Los Angeles), but even with a solid offensive outing, Cincinnati couldn’t avoid a 10-5 loss. Tommy Pham was the best Red on offense in this defeat with 3 RBI and a couple of runs scored.
Another rookie pitcher will take the mound for the Reds when they take on the Giants on Friday. Graham Ashcraft (3-1) will get his seventh start of the campaign after suffering the first loss of his young career in his latest start against Milwaukee. The 24-year-old right-hander has a 3.51 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 19/7 K/BB ratio over 33.1 innings of work. Ashcraft’s first win in the majors came against the Giants when he impressed, allowing no runs on four hits in 6.1 innings.
Giants fell short to the Braves on the roadThe San Francisco Giants lost the series against the Atlanta Braves on the road, even though it could end differently. Namely, the Giants lost three of four games and all three defeats came by a single run margin. With four losses in the previous five games, they dropped to a 38-31 record and 7th place in the NL.
Atlanta got to a 7-1 early lead in the opening four innings, and although San Francisco responded with five runs in the remaining five, it wasn’t enough to escape a 7-6 defeat. Alex Wood (5-6) lasted just one inning in which he allowed six runs on four hits with one strikeout and two walks. The Giants registered more hits (14-10), but that didn’t help them. Austin Slater led them with two RBIs, while five more batters had a multi-hit game.
Alex Cobb (3-2) is getting his tenth start of the year and is looking for his first win in four games, although the Giants did beat the Reds 6-4 on May 29, when Cobb Cobb allowed two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in a no-decision. The 34-year-old right-hander currently carries a poor 5.62 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and 49/13 K/BB ratio in 41.2 innings.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Giants are far from being impressive of late, but this game will come at the right moment for them after losing four of the last five. Cobb improved in his last two starts (no decisions) after being destroyed by the Rockies and Mets in two before, and I am backing him to get a win in this one. San Francisco has been good against right-handed pitchers, averaging .240 with 5.01 runs per nine innings, while the Giants bullpen is better than Cincinnati’s. The Reds lost the last seven and allowed 5+ runs in each, so I am going with the Giants to get a comfortable victory on Friday.
Full-Game Total Pick
I am pretty sure Cobb will let a few runs to the Reds, even though I am backing him to get a W. Cincy did lose the previous seven games, but scored 2+ runs in each, and I would be surprised if Cobb shuts them out in this duel. Ashcraft proved to be a solid young pitcher, but I seriously doubt he can replicate his six-inning shutout of the Giants he had in his first MLB start. He will be under heavy pressure at Oracle Park, and that’s why I expect to see a high-scoring affair. Frisco won 6-4 in Cobb’s previous start against Cincy.